Dental anxiety is a feeling of fear or dread associated with dentists or dental procedures. It is quite common, affecting about 15% to 20% of the population. Dental anxiety can be so severe that it can keep you from going to the dentist.
Discuss with your dentist your dental fear
Dentists understand that dental fear is common. That’s why they welcome their patients to talk to them honestly about their anxieties and fears. Don’t be afraid to tell them what you think and feel in order to alleviate your anxiety and fear. Your dentist wants all their patients to have a pleasant and positive experience while under their care, so they will do their best to accommodate you if you let them know what you are feeling.
Bring a companion with you
If you are nervous about going to the dentist for a procedure, try to bring a family member or a close friend with you for support and comfort. They can help you cope with your fear and anxiety just by being there by your side. They can be there to distract you during the procedure by engaging you in a conversation or by reading a book or magazine to keep you busy. Of course, it’s okay to tell your dentist beforehand that you are bringing someone along before you arrive for the appointment. That way, they can prepare adequately for the extra chair in the operatory and any distractions they may encounter during the treatment.
Agree on a signal for the dentist to stop the procedure
It is best to discuss with your dentist your fear of continuing pain and how they could have better control of your treatment. You might want to agree on a signal beforehand that will tell your dentist to stop the treatment. The signal could be raising a hand or tapping on the table.
If you are feeling extremely anxious on the day of your appointment, talk to your dentist about oral conscious sedation. This medication can help you relax and calm your nerves. You will be awake and relaxed throughout your treatment and during the drive back home from the dental office. This medication is a prescription-only drug, and you will need to arrange a ride to and from your appointment. You will also need to arrange for someone to stay with you while the effects of the drug wear off. You should plan to avoid driving, operating heavy machinery, and operating appliances until the next day.
Bring distractions to occupy your mind during procedures
Distracting yourself is the best way to keep your stress level low during a procedure. A dentist or hygienist can explain every step of the process and give you some helpful tips on keeping busy while your procedure is being performed. But you can also bring something to keep your brain occupied while you wait. Here are some ideas:
To learn more about the benefits of sedation dentistry procedures, visit Darren Gonzalez DDS at 1515 Montgomery Drive Ste B, Santa Rosa, CA 95405, or call (707) 542-1532.
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