Easing Dental Anxiety: Coping Methods that Can Help

Posted by Christopher Wong on Feb 14 2023, 11:11 PM

Dental fear is a common thing. About 42% of Americans avoid going to the dentist due to fear. Dental procedures can be scary, especially for those who get anxious at the mere sight of a needle. But ignoring a dental issue can have devastating effects on your overall health.

Communicate Your Fears With Your Dentist

If you experience severe anxiety about your treatment or becoming a patient in general, don’t be afraid to speak up about it. You can work with your dentist to come up with a treatment plan that allows you to get the dental care you need in a way that makes you feel comfortable. That could mean taking breaks if you’re feeling particularly anxious or even opting for sedation when you’re undergoing an especially lengthy procedure. Be sure to get these arrangements made before you come in for your appointment, though, as it may not be possible to accommodate changes once the procedure has begun.

Agree On A Signal

Before your appointment, agree on a signal with your dentist that lets him or her know that you’re uncomfortable and need a pause for a break or to take a break from treatment altogether. This way, your dentist will know when you need a break and can respond appropriately. 

For example, you may be having a filling completed when suddenly you find yourself in a panic attack. You can raise your hand. This gives your doctor a chance to stop the procedure for some time as you relax. When you return from the break, you’ll be calmer and more collected, and ready to resume treatment.

Bring Distractions

Whether you have an upcoming appointment or you’re in the waiting room before your appointment, bring something to keep you occupied to take your mind off of your upcoming procedure. Reading a book, playing a game on your phone, or watching Netflix can help distract you and keep you from looking forward to your treatment. Additionally, bringing a friend or loved one along can ease tension and help you feel calmer about your upcoming treatment. Some dental offices offer amenities such as massage chairs or TVs in the waiting area to help you feel more at ease. In the event of long appointments, it’s a good idea to pack snacks or a lunch to eat while you wait for your treatment. If you need to do some work beforehand, like filling out paperwork, make sure to get it done before you arrive, so you don’t end up wasting time before you get to your treatment.

Consider Sedation Dentistry

The dentist can prescribe oral medication to relax you before treatment begins. This may help you feel calmer during treatment and may make you less aware of sounds and smells around you. Patients remain alert enough to respond to questions and commands from the dentist throughout the appointment.

For more information and tips about improving your dental health, schedule a consultation with your dentist in San Ramon, CA, at Courtyard Dental. You can request an appointment online or by calling the office directly.

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