Have you ever gotten cold feet before going to your dental appointment? Or felt apprehensive the day before? If you’ve felt this way, don’t worry! You’re not alone. What you feel is a common emotion in patients known as dental anxiety, and there are multiple ways to help ease your fear during your appointment.
First off, what exactly is dental anxiety?
Dental Anxiety is a term often used to describe the stress and fear one feels before going to the dentist. Approximately 40% of the population experience these emotions when faced with the thought of visiting their dentist. There are a multitude of factors that may contribute to this fear, whether it be due to negative experiences in the past or hypothetical concerns. This can lead to future problems when patients avoid going to the dentist even in times of need. To prevent this, there are many options available in the office to help calm one’s nerves during a visit.
Dental Anxiety Management
• Emotional Support Animals
• Family and Friends
- Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)
- Most commonly used among patients with dental anxiety
- Sedation Dentistry
- Require the assistance of a family member or friend after the appointment to help with transportation
▪ Moderate Sedation
• Patient may be asleep, but can be woken up
▪ Deep Sedation
• Patient is asleep, but can be woken up
▪ General Anesthesia
• Patient is completely unconscious
How to help someone with dental anxiety
Having dental anxiety can be extremely stressful when preparing for an appointment. To help someone in this situation, it is of utmost importance to provide support and comfort as much as possible. Validating their emotions and experience can help reassure them and lessen possible hesitations they may have when going to their appointment.
For those struggling with dental anxiety, don’t be afraid to tell your dentist about it! They are there to help you and make your experience as pleasant as possible. Talking about what you’re comfortable with can help your dentist create a treatment plan that is painless and stress free. If you feel better knowing what procedure they’re going to do, ask questions! If needed, take a break as well.
Remember, communication is key! Dentists are there to make your experience less stressful, not more. If you’re considering dental sedation, make sure you talk to your dentist to ensure you’re getting the proper treatment you want. Hopefully, these tips will help ease any fears you may have in the future for your appointments. Good luck!