If you have an underlying fear or anxiety about the dentist’s chair, it’s natural to want to skip professional cleanings. Unfortunately, diligent oral care at home isn’t enough to stave off dental pain, cavities, plaque and other more serious issues indefinitely. The good news is that there are ways to overcome your fear of the dentist. Here are a few tips to ensure your next appointment is stress-free.
Get to Know your Dentist. To feel more comfortable, get to know who will be working with you during your appointment. Many offices offer free consultations or meet-and-greets that offer an opportunity to connect with oral health professionals before you’re in the chair. At TenderCare Dental, for example, the Meet Our Doctors page on our website allows anyone to learn a little bit about the staff ahead of an appointment. The more you know about your health providers can help build trust, enabling you to overcome some of your fears.
Be Assertive About Your Needs. One of the scariest things about being at the dentist’s office is that patients often feel out of control. This can cause a lot of anxiety. After meeting and getting to know your dentist, talk about what scares you, your pain threshold and which parts of the appointments are particularly stressful. If your dentist doesn’t know about your unique phobias, it’s impossible to make you more comfortable. Similarly, you’ll want to find a dentist who will listen to you and respect your boundaries. If you ask for a break or want to know more about a particular procedure or dental tool, your doctor should respect your space and meet your needs. Someone who isn’t willing to take the time to learn about you, isn’t worth your efforts.
Consider Sedation Dentistry. Sedation dentistry was developed to help keep patients at ease. The process probably isn’t far off from what you might imagine. A few hours before your appointment, simply take a small pill. No need for needles or gas masks. The pill gives patients the opportunity to experience hours of stress-free bliss. Upon arrival, patients are escorted to a comfortable room and covered in a thick, warm blanket. Patients get to relax—some even nod off—while a professional monitors the patient’s vital signs. As stress subsides and you feel totally calm, the dentist will begin the procedures. Because of the calming effects, patients will need a companion to drive them to and from the appointment.
Ultimately, teeth are important, so it’s essential that you take care of them. Regular dental checkups and cleanings can help your teeth continue to look their best. For the latest and greatest information about sedation dentistry, treatments and your specific needs, talk to your dentist. The oral care specialists at TenderCare Dental are happy to meet with you and can help you determine what procedures to schedule and how to maintain good oral health outside the office.