If you’re nervous about going to the dentist, you’re not alone. More than 80% of people have dental anxiety or dental phobia (odontophobia). If this fear and anxiety leads to postponing or cancelling treatment, it can unfortunately turn into a vicious cycle of tooth pain, health problems, more anxiety and more complicated and expensive dental procedures.
At Ideal Smile Dentistry, we want to help all of our patients, regardless of their anxiety level, feel comfortable at the dentist and leave with a healthy smile.
Common Symptoms Of Dental Anxiety
Anxiety can cause different symptoms depending on the person and the level of fear or anxiety. Some of these common symptoms include:
- Panic attacks
- High blood pressure, which can drop and cause fainting.
- High heart rate
- Agitation and aggressive behaviour
- Extreme sweating
Although we cannot completely cure your dental anxiety, there are many remedies we can use to make your experience a positive one.
Ways To Relieve Dental Anxiety
These are just a few of the many ways we can help you feel more comfortable when you visit the dentist.
- Take daily care of your teeth. By brushing and flossing daily, you can avoid complicated dental procedures, which means fewer visits to the dentist.
- Communication is very important! By communicating with your dentist in advance about your concerns, we can work together to make your visit more pleasant. If something is unpleasant, feel free to tell your dentist (you can raise your hand to let them know you need a break). We will stop and give you as much time as you need before continuing.
- Ask questions. Sometimes what makes a dental procedure scary is our confusion about what is happening. Ask the dentist any questions you have about what will happen during your appointment, and what you can expect during and after the procedure, and express your concerns. We will do our best to explain everything and make you comfortable.
- Focused breathing and meditation can help reduce heart rate and anxiety. These simple tools can help you relax during your visit.
- If the sound of drills and other dental instruments causes anxiety, bring headphones and listen to your favorite music, podcasts or audiobooks.
- Keep yourself occupied with a stress ball or other fidget device. These tools can help keep your hands busy and distract you from dental work.
- If weighted blankets help reduce anxiety, you can ask to have an X-ray protective vest put on during the procedure to mimic the effects of a weighted blanket.
- Take a family member or friend with you. Sometimes having someone you trust in the examination room can help you feel calmer. Ask if you can bring a family member or friend when you plan your visit.
- If you still experience a lot of dental anxiety or phobia, your dentist may prescribe anti-anxiety medication to take before your appointment to help you. Some doctors may also carry out conscious sedation, for example with nitrous oxide (laughing gas). Talk to your dentist to find out if this option might be suitable for you.
- Please know that no matter how long it has been since your last visit to the dentist, we are glad you trusted us to take care of you. We won’t judge you or think otherwise. We’re just happy to be able to help you fix any problems and achieve the smile of your dreams.
A visit to the dentist doesn’t have to be scary or anxiety-inducing. At Ideal Smile Dentistry, our doctors want to help you become pain-free and happy with your smile. If you have questions or would like to speak with someone about your dental anxiety treatment options, schedule an appointment today.