Dental phobia is a common fear of visiting the dentist. People avoid their dentist due to many reasons. Some have a fear of needles, some have a fear of pain, and some are just afraid of the unknown.
Speak up about your fears
Your dentist wants to help you overcome your dental fear. They can’t help you unless you speak up about your anxieties and fears. If you don’t have a good relationship with your dentist yet, tell them about your fears and hesitations and voice what makes you feel nervous. Communication is key to helping you feel more relaxed in the dentist’s chair.
Talk to your dentist about any past negative experiences you have had with going to the dentist so they can try to change up your routine to accommodate your needs.
Agree on a signal
Many patients experience some level of anxiety before or during their dental treatments. It’s important to speak up and voice your concerns to your dentist so you both can work through them together. But dentists aren’t mind readers, so it helps if you can tell the dentist what you need, such as a break during treatment, a signal if you need something, etc.
A simple way to communicate your needs to your dentist is to agree on a signal beforehand. For instance, you both might agree to nod your head toward the ceiling if you are in need of a short break. Whatever signals you decide on can help make your appointment feel more comfortable and relaxed for you.
Take a trusted person - friend or a family member with you
It’s common to feel anxious at the dentist's. Bringing someone you trust with you will ensure that you have moral support while you’re visiting the dentist’s office for an appointment and can help you feel at ease during your visit. Plus, you’ll always have a friendly face nearby in case you need to take a break.
Bringing a book or iPad and headphones is a great idea! Listening to music or a podcast will help you relax while waiting for your appointment to begin. Playing games on your phone is also a good idea for distracting yourself while waiting in the waiting room. You can ask your dentist if they have anything available for you to watch or read during your visit as well.
Consider sedation dentistry
If you have severe anxiety or fear associated with seeing a dentist, you may want to discuss with your dentist the option of using sedation dentistry to make your appointments easier. Sedation is used to provide relaxation and comfort during dental procedures.
The type and amount of sedation used will depend on your level of anxiety and the procedure that will need to be done. Your dentist will let you know the type of sedative that will work best for your situation. You may need oral medication to help you relax, or you may need something to relax both you and the dentist during the procedure. Talk with your dentist to see if you are a good candidate for sedation.
To learn more about best practices for oral health, call Bay Area Dental at (510) 350-8187 or visit our dental office at 3300 Webster Street, #907, Oakland, CA 94609. Book your appointment with our dentist in Oakland, CA, to achieve the smile you have always wished for.