Many individuals have fears about going to the dentist. They might experience anxiety leading up to a cleaning, or they might feel intense fear about procedures like cavity fillings or root canals. If you have avoided going to the dentist in the past as an outcome of dental anxiety, it’s important to find ways to combat your apprehension. Your oral health is closely connected to your overall well-being. During cleanings, your dentist may catch early warning signs of issues like gingivitis or tooth decay. Treating these issues early can help you avoid more complicated procedures down the road.
At Columbia Smiles, we understand the anxiety that many of our patients feel, therefore we make every effort to ensure their comfort. If you’re feeling anxious or worried about your next appointment, let a member of our team know. Also, you may want to consider the following three strategies to combat dental anxiety.
Ways to Ease Dental Anxiety
Stop avoiding the dentist. Try these three strategies to make your dental visit an anxiety-free experience.
1. Be Honest With Your Dentist
Let your dentist know that you experience anxiety and have fears about what may happen during your appointment. They can explain every aspect of what they are going to do and the steps for minimizing your pain and discomfort. You won’t be the first patient your dentist has treated with dental anxiety, therefor you won’t offend them by sharing this information. In fact, sharing your anxiety may eliminate some of your stresses and enhance your experience.
2. Distract Yourself
Many dentists have TVs playing in the operatory for their patients to watch during their appointment. Focusing on the TV can help distract you. Alternatively, ask if you can listen to music or an engaging podcast or audiobook during your appointment. You’ll need to be able to hear your dentist’s instructions, but relaxing music on a low volume could help you manage your anxiety.
3. Consider Sedation Dentistry
Many dentists offer sedation dentistry, where patients can opt to be asleep during their dental procedure. While this approach is commonly used for more invasive procedures like wisdom teeth removal, it could be a helpful option if you struggle with severe dental anxiety. While this would require more preparation before an appointment and some recovery time after, for some patients, this is the best option.
Causes of Dental Anxiety
What causes dental anxiety? Getting to the root of this issue could help you overcome your apprehension.
Some of the most common causes of the phenomenon include:
- Fear of pain – Past painful experiences at the dentist or fears about the tools used during cleanings and procedures can lead to dental anxiety
- Fears about anesthesia – Going under local or general anesthesia can be uncomfortable for some
- Self-consciousness – Some individuals feel uncomfortable having another person in their personal space for an extended period of time
If your fear of the dentist has kept you from receiving necessary treatments or procedures, it could be helpful to talk to a therapist. A trained professional can help you understand the underlying causes of this anxiety.
Reach Out to Columbia Smiles Today
At Columbia Smiles, our compassionate and highly experienced team understands the fears that some of our patients have. We’ve worked hard to create a space where you’ll feel relaxed and at ease. If you have any concerns about an upcoming appointment, we’re here to answer your questions and help you understand what to expect. Practice breathing techniques, listen to calming music, or talk to a therapist about your dental anxiety.
Taking care of your teeth and gums can help you stay healthy. Make an appointment for an anxiety-free dental cleaning at Columbia Smiles. Connect with our team at 410.690.4855 or reach out online today.