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Dental Anxiety? Here’s How to Cope

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

dental tips from hagen dental practice in cincinnati

Ever feel uneasy while at the Dentist? Or are you nervous about your next visit? If this sounds familiar, you may be experiencing dental anxiety—and you’re certainly not alone…But the good news is we’re here to help you through your nerves!

In addition to shedding some light on the roots of dental anxiety, we’re going to provide a few options to consider to help you cope with your fear so that you can be comfortable before and during your visit.

It’s important to understand that there’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of while you’re visiting us, although you’ve probably heard that before, but it’s true!

What Causes Dental Anxiety?

Although everyone is different, there are a few common fears that patients with dental anxiety tend to share.

Negative experiences in the past – Ever eat at a restaurant and get sick the next morning? It’s safe to assume you’re probably never going back there…or at least not for awhile, right? It’s common to want to avoid something that gave you a negative experience in the past. Anyone who has experienced discomfort or pain during a past dental procedure is prone to be a little anxious at their next visit.

Concern for pain – If you’ve never been to the dentist, or if you visited the dentist before the “pain-free” era of dentistry, you might fear that your procedure will hurt, and thus have some anxiety about it.

Embarrassment – The mouth is one of the more private areas of your body. Some folks might feel embarrassed or uncomfortable when a stranger examines it, or even feel self conscious about how it looks (1).

It’s worth noting that you should never feel a sense of shame or embarrassment when coming to see us. We’re on your team and we’re here to help you improve your health, no matter where you are at today.

More On That Thought…So How Do You Cope?

Whatever your reason for experiencing dental anxiety, there are many different ways that you can cope with your fear so that you can become more comfortable—and ideally relaxed—during your visit.

Communicate with Us

If you don’t speak up, we won’t know that you’re feeling uneasy. Again, don’t be embarrassed at all to tell us your state of oral health, your health in general, or any concerns you are having.

We want to make your visit as comfortable and as relaxing as possible—so let us help you! This way, our dentists and dental team can better tailor our treatment to your needs. This tip might be the most important on the list so that we can help you!

When you schedule your appointment, mention to the receptionist that you experience anxiety at the dentist. When you arrive for your visit, remind the dental staff and dentist about your feelings.

Ask questions. If you’re unsure about something, ask. Knowing what’s going on inside your mouth can give you some peace of mind.

Take breaks. If you need a break during any time of your dental visit, it’s okay to say so! We want you to be comfortable, and sometimes it’s easier to jump back in after a little mental break.

You shouldn’t feel any pain, so let us know if you do! We always work as a team to make sure you are not in pain! If you feel pain, signal to us to stop. Some patients are embarrassed to tell us if they experience pain, or don’t want to interrupt the process. Keeping you comfortable is our first priority, so don’t be afraid to speak up! If you have any questions about this before your visit, give us a call or ask us as soon as you come in.

be sure to tell us if you have dental anxiety

Discuss Anesthetic Options with Us 

We can help soothe your fears with nitrous oxide sedation. Just ask us to learn more about the options that we have that are right for you. For many patients, these sedation options allow you to relax. In order to fully eliminate pain, local anesthetic can be administered in conjunction with nitrous oxide. Because the effects of this medication wear off quickly, you’re able to safely drive yourself home after your procedure without calling a ride.

Recall that our office also has the Wand™, a computerized system that applies anesthesia without any pain or sensitivity for the patient. That’s right that means you have a painless administration of anesthesia. No more fears of injection at our practice!

Utilize Mindfulness Techniques

Anxiety is often a mental battle. If you can calm your mind, your body will follow…For those that believe this could help consider these two tips:

Relax one muscle at a time. Concentrate on relaxing your entire body, one part at a time. You can do this slowly from head to toe. Start by focusing on relaxing your forehead, your jaw, and your neck—and continue down your body.

Breathe deep and count your breaths. Inhale and exhale deeply and slowly. Do this five times while you wait in the waiting room, and repeat during breaks of your dental visit. It will help calm your body (3).

hagen dental practice offers relaxing dental care in a caring environment

Dental Care in a Relaxing Environment

We value ensuring that you feel relaxed and comfortable during your visit just as much as we value the health of your pearly whites—and we’ll do everything we can to make you feel at home. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask us a question or be sure to ask us when you’re in for your next appointment.

Give us a call today at (513) 251-5500 to schedule a visit!

Sources:

  1. http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/basics/dental-visits/article/what-is-dental-anxiety-and-phobia
  2. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/easing-dental-fear-adults#1
  3. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/a/anxiety
  4. http://www.thewand.com