Dental phobia is a severe fear of dentists that prevents people from seeking dental care. Dental phobia is extreme and can be very debilitating. It can cause people to delay or avoid dental treatments altogether. If you have dental anxiety, here are a few tips to ease them.
Speak up about your fears
Patients should speak up about their fears and anxieties with their dentist. They should not feel embarrassed or guilty about being afraid. Dentists and their staff are not there to judge them; they’re there to help the patient relax during their procedure. If you feel uncomfortable at the dentist’s office, tell your dentist as soon as possible. They can help ease your fears through gentle care, helping you overcome your anxiety during dental procedures. Your dentist can also take steps to help you feel safe during your treatments, such as giving you a neck pillow, listening to music, or putting you in a good mood by administering laughing gas. If needed, they may recommend oral conscious sedation, which will help you relax during your visit.
In some cases, dentists can prescribe anti-anxiety medications to help patients relax and calm their nerves before a visit to the dental office. These anti-anxiety pills can be taken the night before the procedure while the patient is at home. This helps patients relax, allowing them to sleep peacefully during the night. Before the procedure, all they need to do is take the pill about an hour before the appointment.
Agree on a signal
If you suffer from severe dental fear or anxiety, agree on a signal beforehand that will let your dentist know you need a break or need help relaxing. A simple hand gesture can let the dentist know that you’d like a break or need a hand to hold. This way, your dentist will know when to intervene and when to give you space. Also, this can help the dentist know how to help you best. If you’re able to give signals and instructions to your dentist during a procedure, they may be able to better assist you during the process. For example, if they know that you are prone to gagging, they may be able to use certain techniques to try and minimize your gag reflex. However, if your dentist doesn’t know about your gag reflex ahead of time, they may be unable to help you properly during the procedure.
Take a trusted person with you
Having a loved one by your side during a dental appointment can help ease your nerves and provide support during the treatment. This person can help you feel comfortable and relaxed during this visit. Many patients are nervous before seeing the dentist and may not want to be alone. Your loved one can sit in the patient chair and hold your hand or hold your head during procedures to comfort you.
They can also act as a distraction and help you remain calm during your procedure. They can read aloud to you or share a comforting memory while you are in the dentist’s chair. If you are especially fearful, they can even drive to your appointment and pick you up afterward so you can have a friend or family member drive you home from the dental office.
Distractions can take your mind off the procedure and the pain associated with it. Bring headphones so you can listen to music, a bag full of snacks and drinks, a book to read, or a tablet to play games on while you’re in the dentist’s chair. You can also bring along your smartphone or tablet to play calming apps such as guided meditations. Whatever you choose to bring with you, make sure it’s something that will keep your mind busy and help you relax.
Sedation dentistry helps patients relax during dental procedures. Many patients feel fear or anxiety at the dentist’s office. You can ease this common feeling with sedatives during your procedure. Common types of sedation include nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation.
Find out more about oral health by scheduling an appointment at the Rio Rancho Family Dental Care clinic. Call us at (505) 891-4510 or drop in at our dental office, located at 4041 Ridge Rock Rd SE, Rio Rancho, NM 87124.