Did you know that up to 40% of the population suffer from some form of dental anxiety? It’s a very common problem, but the good news is, there are some things you can do to calm your nerves. If you’re feeling nervous about going to the dentist, we’ve got 4 tips to help you relax before you go.
Find a Dentist Who Puts You at Ease
There are a lot of things we consider when we choose a dentist – location, ease of access, reputation, and cost. However, if you struggle with dental anxiety, it’s important to find a dentist who is understanding of your needs. You should look for a dentist who has experience with patients who are nervous about going to the dentist. You should also find a dentist who is willing to listen to your concerns, as well as someone who has a good reputation when it comes to working with patients who struggle with anxiety.
The most important thing is that the dentist is able to put you at ease and make you feel safe while they’re working on your teeth.
Try Sedation Dentistry
Some dentists provide mild sedation to make you feel more comfortable during dental procedures. One of the most common approaches to sedation dentistry is nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas. Laughing gas calms you down, but it doesn’t completely knock you out. You’re still awake and aware while under the effects of laughing gas. It’s not painful to breathe in either, and the effects wear off in a matter of minutes after your treatment ends. A small mask rests over your nose for the duration of your procedure, and a constant stream of nitrous oxide relaxes you immediately after breathing it in. You’ll be able to cooperate with your dentist if they ask you to open or close your mouth, but otherwise you’ll be blissfully unaware that anything’s happening at all.
Share Your Feelings
It’s important to be completely honest with your dentist so that they can offer the best care possible during your visit. Here are some ways to ensure your dentist knows how you feel:
Explain that you’re nervous. It may even help if you tell them why you’re nervous, such as past traumatic experiences at the dentist or a fear of needles.
Ask them about the procedure. If it helps, ask for a description of what they are going to do beforehand, but also ask lots of questions afterwards too if there is anything else you want to know.
Ask for reassurance. There’s no harm in asking your dentist if everything is OK! You may find it helpful to have regular updates from your dentist during the treatment so that you know what is happening at all times.
Don’t be afraid to say stop! Your dentist will respect this and will want to put measures into place such as taking frequent breaks, explaining each stage of treatment or reducing their speed of work slightly so that you always feel safe and relaxed.
Bring a Friend
Sometimes bringing a trusted friend or relative along to your appointment is enough to dissipate your nerves. If you don’t have a person to bring along, you can instead take an item that brings you comfort with you – for example, a favorite pillow or blanket, or a stress ball to help you release tension when you feel nerves arise.
Going to the Dentist Doesn’t Have to be Scary.
You are not alone. Many people are afraid of the dentist, but you can overcome your dental phobia with the right dentist, in the right environment. If you’re looking for a dentist who will make you feel at ease, Dr. Winsome Henry-Ward can help. As a pioneer of gentle dentistry, Dr. Winsome Henry-Ward takes special care to make sure you are comfortable, informed, and relaxed during your visit. Interested in learning more? Contact us today.