Dental fear is a common phenomenon. It prevents you from seeking dental treatment or undergoing procedures.
Discuss with your dentist your fears and concerns
Remember that your dentist is a professional and is likely better equipped to handle any anxiety you may experience than your friends and family. Furthermore, discussing your fears before the procedure will help calm you down. Your dentist is trained to handle all types of patients and will do their best to make you as comfortable as possible during your visit. Even if your fear is related to past traumatic experiences, you should not have to suffer in silence. Speak up and get the help you need!
Discussing your fears will also give you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the procedure at hand. For example, if you have had negative experiences with needles in the past, you can suggest using a topical anesthetic instead of an injection to numb the area. If you have trouble sitting still for long periods of time, you could also ask if you can be seated in a chair with a pillow for your back and neck for support. There are plenty of ways to make your appointment easier on yourself just by talking with the dentist ahead of time!
Agree on a signal to communicate discomfort and pain
When you are undergoing dental procedures that might cause you pain or discomfort, you need to let your dentist know about it right away. This is essential to prevent complications and to make sure that you do not feel unnecessarily uncomfortable or anxious during your procedure. One of the best ways to let the dentist know if you are in pain or need a break is to agree on a signal beforehand.
Take a friend or family member for support
When people experience fear or anxiety at the dentist’s office, it may be hard for them to find time in their schedules to go alone. If this sounds like you, consider bringing a relative or friend who can act as a support system. Having someone with whom you can talk about your fears and concerns can make them seem less daunting.
By bringing along a trusted companion, you can feel more at ease with knowing you’re not alone in facing your fear. Your friend may also be able to provide a distraction from your worries by talking to you while they wait for his or her turn to be treated. Plus, you won’t have to worry about finding another ride back home after your appointment is over; your companion can pick you up and take you home when you’re ready.
Bring distractions to occupy your mind during procedures
You can bring some music or your favorite book to read while undergoing any procedure. You can also bring someone to accompany you and keep you distracted from the situation.
Consider sedation dentistry
Sedation dentistry can be used to relax the patient completely before a procedure is performed. It is also used to relieve pain instantly after the procedure is done. A dentist can explain the different types of sedation techniques to you in detail.
During dental treatment, your dentist might suggest a combination of nitrous oxide and oral sedatives depending on the level of anxiety that you experience. Nitrous oxide is a gas that relaxes patients quickly without taking them to a drowsy state. Oral sedatives are ingested in the form of a pill. They produce a state of deep relaxation within minutes and last for several hours before they wear off. Your dentist may also suggest IV sedation if the fear of pain is overwhelming for you. In this technique, sedatives are delivered directly into your bloodstream through a needle. This produces immediate pain relief and has a quick onset as well. However, it may take several hours for the effects to wear off, and you have to wait for a while before you can drive home from the clinic.
If you have any questions, be sure to contact our office. We're happy to help!
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