Do you have a fear of going to the dentist? If so, you’re not alone. The American Association of Endodontists reports that more than 15 percent of American adults avoid going to the dentist, either due to misconceptions or outright fears. This can result in heightened stress levels and an overall feeling of nervousness when the subject of dentistry is brought up. However, you should not let this fear prevent you from getting the dental treatment you need for a healthy life and a bright smile.
We’ve put together some helpful strategies to help you overcome your dental anxiety. If you’re looking for a family dentist here in Albertville, White Smiles Family Dentistry is the best option. Our experienced and knowledgeable staff will help you relax as you get a healthy smile you’ll be proud of.
-Identify and Communicate
The old saying goes, “The first step to solving a problem is admitting it exists.” When you identify that you have dental anxiety, you’re ready to work towards conquering it. Find the issues that cause you the most nervousness and communicate them to your dentist. They’re professionals, uniquely equipped to help you overcome that anxiety, but they can’t help you if they don’t know what sets your anxiety off. When there is strong communication between a dentist and patient, they’re able to tackle issues as a united front. Your dentist will be able to adjust their treatment to adapt and offset your fears.
-Adjust Your Diet
Anxiety can stem from a diet high in caffeine and sugar. The understanding of the damage sugar can cause for your teeth can likewise cause a lot of anxiety, as you have a fear of cavities taking hold due to what you’re eating. Caffeine and sugar can also cause you to be jittery and can cause panic attacks. When you switch to a diet of high-protein foods, you’re more likely to be calm. Eating some protein filled foods prior to your appointment can help you settle down. Of course, that may change if your dentist asks you not to eat before the appointment, depending on the treatment that may be taking place.
As we said at the beginning of this post, over 15 percent of American adults have some sort of dental anxiety. What that means is you are not alone in this and it is not something that you should be embarrassed about. Many people have sought out counseling, either one-on-one, with a group of peers, or self-help to overcome their dental anxiety and stress. They will be able to help you understand, acknowledge, and overcome your issues. For cases of overwhelming dental phobia, professional psychological counseling and psychotherapy are available.
Sometimes all you need to combat anxiety is deep breathing and meditation. Focusing on your breathing, finding your inner calm, progressively relaxing your muscles, and hypnosis can all help you overcome the stress and anxiety of a dentist appointment. Many people have found success by doing some yoga or meditation before their appointment. It might be all you need to calm your nerves.
Sometimes all you need to get your mind off what is giving you anxiety is a little bit of distraction. Many dental offices have begun to employ many different methods of distraction to help put their patients at ease. Whether it is a set of headphones playing your favorite music, watching a movie on an overhead TV screen, blankets, or aromatherapy, there are quite a few options out there that can help you relax for your treatment.
If these other strategies have not worked for you, sedation dentistry may be your best option. Whether it is oral sedation, inhalation sedation, intravenous sedation, or even general anesthesia, many people have found that sedation dentistry is exactly what they need to stay calm through a procedure. Typically used in conjunction with local anesthetics, sedation dentistry can offer mild-to-moderate relief for patients suffering from fear or anxiety.
Oral sedation is usually used for anxious patients and only requires taking a small pill before the appointment. Inhalation sedation utilizes nitrous oxide, which is inhaled and produces conscious relaxation through treatment. Intravenous sedation (aka twilight sleep) provides a similar effect during treatment while leaving breathing unencumbered. General anesthesia is the best option when it comes to complex treatments, during which a patient is unconscious. It is important to note that sedation dentistry is more expensive than standard dental treatment, especially if you choose an intravenous or general anesthetic option. You can learn more about the sedation dentistry offered by White Smiles Family Dentistry here.
Whether you have a severe dental phobia or you just have some anxiety caused by how long it has been since your last dental appointment, there are strategies you can use to overcome your fear. Give us a call at White Smiles Family Dentistry here in Albertville to learn how we can help you tackle your anxiety while brightening your smile. We hope to see you soon!