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Dental anxiety is extremely common among children and adults alike. Dental fear can stem from many sources, including a bad childhood dental experience, fear of pain, embarrassment, or loss of control.

Speak up to the dentist about your anxiety

If you are worried about your appointment, speak up! Your dentist understands your concerns and wants to help ease your anxiety. However, this isn’t going to happen unless you tell him or her how you feel.

Call ahead of time and remind the receptionist of your concern. Mention feeling anxious when you call to make the appointment or when you arrive at the dental office. That way, the dentist is prepared to discuss options for helping you feel more comfortable during the visit.

Agree on a signal

Your dentist should explain the need for a signal before starting any procedure that might cause discomfort. Agreeing on a signal is a sign that you and the dentist understand one another. Conveying your level of comfort is important, and your dentist needs to know if you are experiencing pain, so you can receive the right treatment.

Take a trusted person with you

A trip to the dentist can be scary for some. Having someone you trust and trust to take care of you and be there to calm your nerves is important. Ask a friend or family member to accompany you to your appointment. They can help you voice your concerns to your dentist and hopefully make the process more comfortable for you. Bringing a loved one along can also help distract you from your procedure and ease your worries. Your loved one can help remind you to relax, hold your hand during the procedure, and support your decisions.

Bring distractions

If you start to feel anxious and overwhelmed by your dental visit, bring a distraction along with you. Listen to music or a podcast, read a magazine or a book, or meditate. Reading or meditating might not be the best distraction for appointments that are longer and more uncomfortable. In this case, try listening to music or a podcast instead.

Request sedation dentistry

Anxiety and stress over an upcoming procedure or appointment can cause a person more anxiety than the pain itself. Sedation dentistry is an effective way for dentists to help patients relax and feel more comfortable while receiving treatment. There are several different types of sedation dentistry that are available for patients depending on their needs and anxieties. Here are some of the most common forms of sedation dentistry and the benefits that they offer people:

  • Oral Conscious Sedation: This type of sedation is given via a pill that is taken about an hour before your appointment. The pill relaxes you and helps you to feel calm during your dental visit. Many people who choose oral conscious sedation can feel sleepy but will still be awake enough to hear and respond to the dentist’s instructions during their dental treatment.
  • Nitrous Oxide: If you prefer something light and relaxing to help you feel more at ease during your dental visit, then nitrous oxide may be a good option for you. This gas is administered via a breathing mask that is worn over the nose. This gas helps to relax the patient and calm their nerves. It also helps to relieve any feelings of pain and can help to reduce gag reflexes as well.
  • IV Sedation: For patients who need deep relaxation during a dental visit, IV sedation could be a great option. This is a type of anesthesia that can only be administered by a dentist or doctor. It tends to be used for those who have extreme fears and anxiety and would not otherwise be able to undergo certain types of dental procedures without significant help.

With today’s modern treatments and advanced medicine, there are plenty of options available to help make your visit more comfortable and less scary. Talk to your dentist about which option might be right for you and your needs.

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