We understand that many people feel anxious, afraid or stressed when visiting the dental office. Dr. Darren Gonzalez and our team offer strategies and treatments to help you manage dental anxiety so that you can receive the care you need without difficulty. We invite you to call us today at 707-542-1532 to schedule your consultation with our dentist and learn more about managing dental anxiety and fear in Santa Rosa, California.

What Is Dental Anxiety?

The vast majority of people who see their dentist feel some degree of nervousness. That said, there's nervousness and then there's dental anxiety. If you haven't seen your dentist in the last year, or many years, you may fall into the latter designation. Dental anxiety is more than the average bout of butterflies in your stomach when you first sit down in the dentist's chair. It may look different for you than anyone else. In general, though, dental anxiety is a level of fear that keeps you from maintaining regular dental visits. You may find many reasons to postpone making your appointments for a check-up and cleaning. You may only see the dentist when you have an obvious problem, indicated by ongoing pain or something as drastic as a broken tooth. You may feel nauseous when seeing the dentist, may sweat or feel lightheaded, or experience any number of somatic symptoms caused by an upset nervous system. 

Is Dental Anxiety Common?

According to polls, approximately three-quarters of people in America, across all age groups, experience dental anxiety. We see about 5 to 10 percent of the population within the most severe category of dental phobia. These are people who cannot seem to bring themselves to see the dentist and who, as a result, may suffer significant dental problems. If you describe yourself as someone with dental anxiety, you're not alone. At the same time, you needn't suffer ongoing dental issues due to the fear of seeing the dentist. There are many things you can do to make your dental visits easier to tolerate. 

What Can I Do About My Fear of Seeing the Dentist?

One of the best things you can do to begin managing your dental anxiety, and your oral health, is to talk to a trusted dentist. It can be highly beneficial to take your time finding a dentist and dental practice that feels especially comfortable for you. To receive the best possible care, talk to your dentist. Here in our Santa Rosa, CA family dental practice, we are intentional about every aspect of care. We understand the issues that dental anxiety can cause, so we want to know how you feel about receiving dental care. If you have nervousness around your visits, our knowledge of that can pave the way to slower, softer, and even more compassionate care.

In addition to talking to your dentist, there are things you can do to manage your anxiety starting before your visits. These include:

  • Avoid caffeinated beverages for 24 to 48 hours before your appointment.
  • Get a good night's sleep. You may need to rely on a nighttime meditation to help you fall asleep.
  • Engage in positive self-talk, reminding yourself that you've selected a dentist who understands your fears.
  • Empower yourself with the reminder that you can pause your exam, cleaning, or treatment for short periods if needed.
  • Bring some earbuds to listen to music during your appointment.
  • Bring a comforting blanket to hold or place over your lap during your visit. 
  • Wear sunglasses during your treatment. 
  • Focus on mindful breathing during your appointment, drawing air in deeply to expand your belly, then releasing.

How Can My Dentist Help Me Manage My Dental Anxiety?

Your dentist is an integral part of managing your dental anxiety. There are several ways that Dr. Gonzalez can make your visits more comfortable and, possibly, even pleasant! First, he and our entire team provide care centered around your emotional well-being. Knowing that you may have moments in which you struggle to remain calm, the team can speak slowly and kindly, frequently asking you how you're doing. We can also explain to you what we're doing as we work if that provides a sense of relief. We can go so far as to provide a hand to hold when necessary because our goal is to help you feel more relaxed during each visit.

Dental anxiety can also be managed with sedation! Our sedation dentistry services help patients of our Santa Rosa, CA office gain freedom from fearful sensations. Options for sedation include nitrous oxide, which is inhaled throughout your procedure, and oral conscious sedation, which is administered in pill or liquid form prior to your appointment. Both forms of sedation are proven safe and effective. We're happy to discuss this option with you as you prepare to visit us! Just give us a call for more information. 

Schedule your Consultation with Dr. Darren Gonzalez

Call 707-542-1532 today to speak with a friendly member of our team about how we can help you maintain a healthy smile without undue stress!