If you get nervous about visit to the dentist, you're not alone. An estimated 35 million adults experience anxiety at thought of a dental visit. But there are a few things that you might consider to make your care more pleasant and pain free.
- Share your feelings with the dentist. By bringing your fears out in the open, you'll gain control of them.
- Set aside a stress-free time for your dental visit when you won't feel rushed or troubled by other concerns. An early morning visit or a visit on a Saturday might be less stressful than rushing in to see us after work.
- During your visit practice relaxation techniques like focusing on pleasant distractions and focusing on deep slow breathing. That's why we have televisions and movies. They are an incredibly helpful distraction.
- Ask the dentist to explain each step and what to expect to feel. Knowing what's coming and what you might feel can relieve your anxiety.
- Get a good night's sleep and eat a light breakfast. Wear comfortable clothes. Consider scheduling shorter appointments. If you're feeling any discomfort, signal the dentist. A concerned dentist will stop immediately and address your discomfort.
- Consider sedation dentistry. Nitrous oxide is a very light form of sedation that can make your dental visit very pleasant. Oral conscious sedation and deep IV sedation can also be considered.
The main thing to know is that it's normal. Using modern techniques a trip to the dentist really can be relaxing and maybe even something you come to look forward to.
Jonathan Campbell, DDS, FAGD is a dentist at Legacy Dental, in Salt Lake City. He provides sedation dentistry and he and his team pride themselves in helping fearful patients to comfortably receive the dental care they need.