Dental fear, also known as dental phobia, is an intense and extreme fear of going to the dentist. Dental fear is quite common, and many people experience dental fear or dental anxiety at some point in their lives.
Speak up about your fears
Many people experience some level of anxiety when going to the dentist. Some people even avoid dental care altogether because they fear it. This avoidance can lead to the development of serious dental problems down the road. If you are afraid of going to the dentist, talk to your dentist about it. They can help reassure you and ease your worries in a variety of ways. For example, they may start your appointment by showing you the tools they are going to use on your teeth. They may even bring you into the treatment room first for a quick tour or schedule a second appointment to discuss the procedure in more detail. When you know what the procedure entails, you will feel more comfortable going along for the treatment.
Also, you should feel comfortable speaking up about any fears you have. Your dentist wants you to be comfortable while receiving treatment, so if they can help you feel more relaxed, they should try to do so. A simple way for them to make you feel comfortable is by letting you know what to expect during treatment. If something unexpected happens, they will likely be able to explain the situation to you and let you know what is happening and why. Knowing what to expect often helps people feel better about a procedure that can be difficult for some.
Take a trusted person with you
If you are afraid of the dentist or know someone who is, consider taking that individual with you to your next visit. Having someone else present will help ease your nerves while allowing you to understand the procedure being worked on. While a dentist understands nervous patients, having a trusted friend or family member, there can calm you through the procedure and beyond.
Agree on a signal
Speaking up about your fears and your dentist’s procedures can help make those fears diminish over time. If you have fears that are hard to talk about, agreeing on a signal that only you and your dentist will understand can make for an easier appointment all around.
Bring a distraction
Bringing along a distraction is a great way to avoid thinking about an upcoming procedure. Talk to your dentist ahead of time about what types of things you can bring into the office to help distract you from your anxiety. Some common distractions are music, books, and movies. You may also want to consider asking your dentist if they offer sedation dentistry options as a means of easing your discomfort during an appointment. Bring distractions
Consider sedation dentistry
The American Dental Association recommends talking to your dentist about your fears and discussing medication that can help ease anxiety. Oral conscious sedation is a safe and effective way for many patients to get through their dental appointments without stress or discomfort. This sedative can help you feel calm enough to go through your procedure comfortably. It is not intended to completely “put you to sleep” but to relieve tension and anxiety while in the chair. It is ideal for patients with mild to moderate levels of anxiety and fear. However, it does not put you into a deep sleep, so you are still able to communicate during your care. Your dentist will discuss all of your options with you and help you choose a solution for you. One option that may be available to you is nitrous oxide therapy. Nitrous oxide is a gas that you inhale through a small mask placed over your nose to help you relax during your appointment or procedure. The effects wear off quickly after use, so you can safely drive home afterward. Talk to our dental team if you are interested in learning more about how we can ensure you have a comfortable and positive experience with us.
Please reach out to our dental practice at 17952 SW Blanton St, Aloha, OR 97078, to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bronitsky. Call us at (503) 649-5665 or schedule an online consultation. We can't wait to see you soon and help you have a great holiday season with a beautiful and healthy mouth!