Do you suffer from nervousness when you visit the dentist? You are not alone. Many people, including our own office manager, get nervous when confronted with the idea of visiting the dental chair. Here are some tips for overcoming or dealing with your dental anxiety.
1. Speak to your dentist and your dental team. Review your treatment options with your dentist and let them know what you are nervous about. Your dental team cares about your comfort and will do everything possible to help keep you at ease. There are some options if you have severe anxiety such as oral sedation dentistry. Speak to your dentist to find out if you are a good candidate for oral sedation or if there is an alternative option for you.
If you are going to see a new dentist, schedule a “meet and greet” appointment. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with the office, as well as allow the dentist to speak with you about your fears before any dental work. This will help ensure that you are comfortable with the office and the people who will be caring for you and your smile.
Speak to someone about the cost of your visit. Chances are you will want to leave the office quickly after your treatment. At our Evanston dental office, you can speak to our Administrative Coordinator or Office Manager about your treatment beforehand so that they can help make your payment arrangements smooth. You can even pay for your treatment before your visit so you can zip out the door after treatment, ending your anxiety sooner.
2. Be smart about scheduling. Schedule at a time that you are less likely to be rushed or under pressure. Ask your dental team if there is a time of day that is calmer at the office. You may wish to avoid any appointments when there may be children at the office or busier days. Our office has three hygienists on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so, we try to avoid scheduling patients who are nervous on these days.
When you are scheduling your appointments, take into account how nervous you are. Some people prefer to get all of their dental treatment done at one time so that they don’t have to make multiple visits. If you are not comfortable staying at the dentist for that amount of time, then make sure to speak to your dentist about breaking the appointments into segments.
Schedule time for yourself afterwards – a date with a friend or a trip to the ice cream store. Something for you to look forward to while you are at the dentist.
3. Come prepared. Often the worst part of a dental visit is hearing the necessary drill. Bring an mp3 player or a tablet so that you can listen to your music while you have your dental work completed. Some patients find this helps relax them so much that they actually fall asleep! You can also wear or bring socks to keep your feet warm. Our Evanston dentist office has blankets that we have to help keep our patients warm and comfortable in case they get chilled. You may also bring a small comfort item, such as a worry rock or stress ball, to help you stay calm. If you leave your stress ball at home, we have something here at our dental office in Evanston that you can use.
Also, don’t come to your appointment with an empty stomach. Often when we are stressed, we forget to eat. This is one of the worst things you can do, especially when you are coming to the dentist. Having something to eat about an hour before your appointment may help keep your stomach calm and will give you one less thing to worry about.
4. Lastly and most importantly: take good care of your teeth. The best tip we can give you is to make sure you have the best home care possible. You can help to lower your anxiety by being diligent in your own at-home dental care. The better you treat your teeth, the less you’ll have to come to the dentist. Often people that put off going to the dentist because they are nervous or fearful actually make the situation worse for themselves. Seeing your dentist for preventative visits and following their advice about your home care routine can help you avoid more stressful visits.
The best thing is to remember that your dentist cares about your comfort and to speak to them at any time if you feel nervous or uncomfortable. If you have tips or tricks for overcoming dental anxiety that worked for you, please feel free to share them with us.