Dental phobia is a common phobia in the United States. However, there are ways that patients can overcome their dental phobia. Listed below are some helpful tips to ease dental fear.
Reduce your dental fear with proper communication
Communicating your concerns and fears to your dentist can ease nerves and help you relax in the chair. If you experience any anxiety or nervousness before an appointment, it can impact how relaxed you are at the dentist's office. It's crucial to discuss your concerns with the dentist to help establish trust and comfort with your dental care provider.
You can communicate your concerns by speaking with the receptionist over the phone or by talking to the dentist directly when you arrive for your visit. You might also bring up any concerns that come up during your visit in your follow-up appointment. For example, you might mention that you don't like the sound of the drill because it makes you feel nervous. This is important information to share with your dentist. He or she can work with you to determine the best ways to reduce your discomfort and relax during dental treatments, such as alternative methods of numbing during the procedure.
Sometimes people avoid telling their dentist that they are anxious because they're afraid they'll have a bad experience if they know they are scared. In fact, the opposite is true! Dentists want you to be comfortable and relaxed for their office visit. They don't want any surprises during your appointment that could make your visit more stressful. If you explain your fear to the dentist, they can help you feel more comfortable during your visit by explaining the procedure before it begins, giving you breaks when you need them, and providing relaxing amenities in the office, like blankets, headphones, or even a neck pillow.
Agree on a signal
If you're nervous in the dentist's chair, it's OK to tell your dentist and team. The dentist may not realize you're anxious unless you tell them. Choose a signal ahead of time that works for you and your dentist. It could be raising your hand, giving a quick nod or wink, or even a gentle tapping on the table. Whatever you choose should be quick and easy for the dentist to understand that you are uncomfortable and need a break.
Take a trusted person with you
Having a friend or family member there can provide you with the extra comfort and support you need throughout your visit. Occasionally, it can be helpful to have a trusted person with you during your appointment. This person can speak up for you if you can't or don't understand something. They can also relax you and keep you distracted from what's going on around you in the dental office. Ask your dentist if you can bring someone with you for support during your visit!
You can bring anything to help distract you during your appointment if you struggle with being nervous in a dentist's chair. Some patients listen to music on headphones while others watch a favorite show on their cellphones or tablet computers. You can also bring a book to read or do other quiet activities. The bottom line is to find something that will keep you distracted, and your mind focused on something other than the office. When you aren't worried about the appointment in front of you, it will be much easier to sit through your appointment without panicking.
Wish to learn more dental care tips from the experts? Call Short & Vlosich Family Dental at (806) 374-8011 or schedule an appointment online.