Overcoming Dental Anxiety
No More Fear of the Dentist!
It is estimated that about 40% of Americans don’t visit a dentist regularly due to high anxiety associated with having dental work performed. Many people had bad experiences when they were children, and the fear caused by these negative interactions can stay with them for the rest of their lives.
It is unfortunate that this is such a common situation because we all know how important one’s oral health is as it relates to comfort while chewing and confidence while smiling. Additionally, there is a great deal of evidence that poor oral health can contribute to a multitude of other health problems, and various dental infections can even be contagious.
Fortunately, most people agree that dental care is easier today than it has ever been. Many dental offices offer amenities designed to make patients more comfortable and less anxious about having work done. Our team bakes fresh bread each morning to ensure that the office smells inviting when patients arrive. Aromatherapy can also have a soothing effect.
A cozy reception area, hot and cold beverages, and pleasant music can also “take the edge off.” Many dental chairs are equipped with heated massage pads, and paraffin hand treatments are also available in some offices. Sound-canceling headphones for music and television monitors can also help fearful patients to relax.
Having a positive relationship with your dental team is another essential component to overcoming dental anxiety. Dental teams should pride themselves on asking good questions and patiently listening to your answers. We want you to know that we understand your fear, and we want you to know that we care and that we’ll do whatever we can to alleviate your concerns.
Everyone is unique, and the level of anxiety one feels can be mild, moderate, or severe. The first priority should be to forge a relationship of trust with every patient. For patients who still feel apprehensive about having work done, nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oral conscious sedation are great options.
With one small, safe pill, many fearful patients are able to snooze through their appointment without anxiety or stress. Well-trained dental teams are able to correct years of dental problems in one dental visit while the patient is completely oblivious. Often smile-enhancing procedures like porcelain veneers are performed under sedation. In addition to being able to snooze through the procedures, sedated patients feel no discomfort, and generally, have no memory of the appointment.
Many of these fearful patients begin chewing without pain and smiling with confidence for the first time in years. These benefits can have positive, life-changing consequences for people who have postponed enhancing their smile or improving their oral health due to fear. Sedation dentistry is even beneficial for patients who aren’t fearful but would like to be more comfortable during lengthy dental procedures.
If you are one of the millions of Americans who suffer from dental anxiety, it would be wise for you to seek care as soon as possible from an office that is intent upon minimizing your fear. Oral conscious sedation might be exactly what you need to overcome your fear and get your mouth healthy again.
Ask your dental team for more information about amenities and sedation techniques designed to increase your comfort in the dental office. If you don’t currently have a dental family, please call our office for a free consultation.
You may find more information about this or a variety of other dental topics at www.SmilesByArnold.com. We may be reached at either: 926-5445 or 531-8914.