Do you suffer from dental anxiety or have a fear of going to the dentist? You are not alone. Often a bad experience as a child or young adult can result in an extreme fear of all things dental related—including just being in the office for a routine cleaning.
People with dental anxiety often put off regular dental visits or choose to not go at all for years to avoid feeling uncomfortable. Unfortunately, this strategy doesn’t help keep their oral health where it needs to be. Problems that may have been prevented with regular cleanings can develop into tooth decay and periodontal disease, which can ultimately lead to severe pain, bone loss, and even tooth loss.
If you suffer from dental anxiety but know that you need to see a dentist, there are several things you can do to help reduce your level of anxiety.
- If you are a new patient, let the dental office know that you suffer from dental anxiety. Trust us, they want to know so they can do everything they can to make your experience more comfortable for you. Willow Creek Dental patients are given a “Handle Me with Care” form to let each patient tell us specifically what bothers them. If your office doesn’t offer a form, feel free to write down anything in particular that bothers you (i.e. hearing the drill, being tilted back in the chair, feeling judged) and bring it with you to your appointment.
- Listen to music. Not only will listening to your favorite music relax you, it will also help reduce any dental-related sounds that may bother you. At Willow Creek Dental, we offer our patients headphones so they can listen to their favorite Pandora station. Bring your own headphones and iPod or phone with you if your dentist doesn’t offer this.
- Ask for a closed operatory. Sometimes just being in closer proximity to other dental patients can be unnerving. A closed operatory with doors that close may help you feel less tense.
- Wear comfortable clothes and bring an extra sweater or jacket if you tend to get cold. The less concerned you are about your clothing, the more you may be able to relax and focus on what the dentist is saying. Often dental offices can be chilly so we always offer our patients a blanket for their comfort.
- Utilize the amenities. If your office offers massage chairs, beverages and free Wifi, take advantage of it. Being able to surf the web on your phone and drink a cup of coffee while you are waiting may help you keep your mind off the dental appointment. And why not get a free massage while you are there?
- Request medication. In some cases, a patient’s anxiety is so severe that they require prescription medication prior to the appointment to help calm their nerves. This is done on a case-by-case basis and usually the dentist will need to speak with you on the phone to talk about your anxiety. Nitrous oxide or complete sedation may also be an option for patients during many procedures.
If you have put off going to the dentist, now is the time to make the appointment and get your oral health back on track. Contact our office at 303-779-2797 and make sure to communicate any concerns that you have.
Source: willowcreekdds.com Blog