Your calendar alarm dings. A message pops up: Dentist at 2.30 PM, Tuesday.
You’re gripped with terror at the thought of seeing your dentist. Six months have flown by!
If you’re terrified of the ominous dental drilling sound, you’re not alone. We’ve got tips to ensure you have a stress-free visit to your dentist.
First, Choosing a Dentist
15% of patients have dental-related anxiety because of various reasons.
One reason you have dental anxiety is because of a bad experience with a dentist. They may have ridiculed your teeth or hurt you by accident.
If so, start afresh. Many dentists don’t have the patience to calm their patients so find one who will listen and acknowledge your fears.
Ask family and friends for recommendations and research online. Look for dentists who practice natural dentistry as they combine modern dental techniques alongside natural materials and traditional therapies.
These therapies are less invasive so they’ll help you relax on the dentist’s chair.
Worried About Pain
“Be careful, this may hurt!”
We’ve all heard that as an old dentist jabs your teeth nerves. If you’re nervous about pain, tell your new dentist so they can administer anesthesia.
Terrified of needles? Try nitrous oxide (laughing gas) instead. You can also change your pain perception by numbing gels and deep breathing techniques.
Even though it’s hard, don’t be gripped by fear during a procedure as your body will tense up, making you more sensitive to pain.
Embarrassment About Your Oral Health
Embarrassed to go to the dentist?
This may be because you’ve put off the dentist for years or the current state of your teeth.
Either way, to ensure a calm dental, know dentists have seen everything. They deal with damaged teeth and gums every day so there’s a good chance they’ve seen people with worse dental problems than yours.
It’s not only their job to fix teeth but to get them as healthy as possible.
A good way to break the ice is to call your dentist to tell them you’re embarrassed about your teeth but want to fix them. It also lets them know you have anxieties about it.
Anxiety About Cost
Dental procedures can be costly If your insurance doesn’t cover it. But remember, regular appointments with your hygienist reduces the need for more expensive treatments later.
If you need a filling, talk to the office manager about payment options. Many will help you reach a comfortable financial agreement. Also, note there are many free or low-cost clinics so do your research.
Or try dental schools. Many students are on the lookout for patients and they work under close supervision, so you’re in safe hands.
Fear of Needles
You may wonder how to control nerves in the face of needles.
10% of Americans have a fear of needles when seeing medical practitioners so you’re not alone. Tell your dentist before the appointment so they can prepare numbing gels before giving you an injection.
“Why am I so nervous?” You ask yourself before the dreaded drill starts, hurling you into a whirlwind of anxiety.
It may be the fear of pain associated with the drill, further exacerbated by the sound of the drill.
Remember, before the drill is used, you’ll have numbing gel covering the target area so you won’t feel any pain. You’ll only be aware of light pressure and vibration.
If the sound is overwhelming, pop earphones in and put on your favorite tunes as a distraction.
Feelings of Helplessness
Most of us hate losing control in situations much like when we’re in the dentist’s chair.
Not being able to speak and being confined to a chair can trigger claustrophobic feelings. If this is the case, let the assistant know.
And if you need a moment, raise a hand to take a break and they’ll back away.
Bad Experience In the Past
This is another popular reason patients dread the dentist. Not every dentist appointment runs smoothly, perhaps the dentist was insensitive or the hygienist wasn’t thorough enough.
Even if you’ve had a negative experience, you can’t let it affect your dental health forever. Tell your new dentist about any bad past experiences so they know what upset you.
It may take time, but you must find a team that is a good fit for you as they’ll make dentist visits far less scary.
Sedation phobia falls into two groups.
One fears they’ll be too aware of the pain. They’re scared their teeth and gums won’t be numb enough during the process.
Others fear the numb as they’ll be out of control. They’re scared they’ll suffocate, choke, or won’t be able to swallow.
Be assured that if it’s for your top row of teeth, only an individual tooth will be numbed. For the bottom, your cheek or tongue may feel swollen when numbed but they won’t be.
Even though you’ll lose sensation, you won’t lose function.
Now You Won’t Be Scared Of the Dental Drilling Sound!
That dreaded dental drilling sound can trigger anxiety. But it doesn’t have to. Confide in your dentist about any qualms you have and they should be willing to listen and ease any nerves.
If not, find a reputable dentist online or through word of mouth. When you’re in the waiting room focus on your breathing, think positive thoughts, and don’t let negative past experiences ruin your current dental experience. Good luck!
If you’re looking for non-judgmental dentists and a calm atmosphere, we’d love to help. Contact us here for further details.