Dental anxiety or fear is one of the most common reasons people avoid seeing the dentist. But avoiding the dentist can lead to serious dental problems. Here are some of the things you can do to ease dental fear.
Discuss your fears with your dentist
After your checkup, ask your dentist to go over the treatment plan and any precautions you need to take. Don't hesitate to ask any questions or express any concerns you have regarding the procedure. Most dentists are willing to explain to their patients what the procedure will entail and what the patient can expect during the treatment. If you have specific fears about the procedure, you should voice them so you can work with your doctor to come up with solutions to help you relax better during treatment.
Agree on a signal
If you have dental fear, agree with your dentist about a signal to use when you need a break. This can help allay some of the patient's fears and improve their ability to relax during treatments.
Take a friend or relative with you for support
It can be helpful to have someone accompany you to the dentist's office if you are feeling nervous or uncomfortable. Having someone to talk to who can act as a support system can make your visits more pleasant and can help you feel comfortable in the office. If that someone happens to be your spouse, significant other, parent, sibling, child, or other family members, they may also be your designated driver. Ask them to drive you to and from your appointments so that they can take care of you. This can help ensure that you make it to and from the dentist's office safely without putting yourself or others at risk at the wheel.
If you aren't sure whether your dentist offers the option of having a support person present during your appointment, simply call the office and ask for more information. Many practices offer this option as it is helpful to many patients.
Bring distractions to occupy your mind
Most people are fearful of the dental chair because of the sound of drilling and the sight of a dentist's tools in their mouth. However, some patients even fear a conversation that negatively affects their dental health. If you tend to be anxious in the dentist's office, bring a distraction to occupy your mind during the procedure. A favorite book or magazine is a great way to distract the mind from the details of the treatment process. Consider bringing a friend or a family member with you as well. Having another friendly face in the room can help ease your nerves and make the procedure more tolerable.
Consider sedation dentistry
Sedation dentistry is a safe and effective way to ease your dental fear. It can alleviate anxiety and relax you during your treatment. It is administered through oral medication or through IV. Before the procedure, your dentist will discuss any fears or concerns you have about the treatment. He or she will also help you decide on the appropriate sedation method which is right for you. You can get back to your normal routine right after your sedation dentistry procedure. Your dentist will go over post-sedation care instructions before your procedure.
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