Dental anxiety, dental phobia, fear of dentists – whatever you call it, you know how overwhelming it can be when that feeling takes control, even when common sense tells you that it’s time to get dental care. If dental fear has a hold on you, don’t be embarrassed - millions of people just like you experience some level of dental anxiety.
Putting off any dental treatment – even routine cleanings and checkups – can play havoc with your oral health. We want you to feel confident about managing your own oral health, so we’ve listed some of the more common dental fears and solutions for dealing with them. In each case, however, communication with your dentist is the key to overcoming your anxiety
- Fear of the Unknown – Talking to your dentist about your concerns can do a lot to help you feel greater control over your situation. Once we know about your anxiety, we will make sure to answer all your questions and explain your dental treatment so you know what to expect before we begin the procedure.
- Fear of Dental Equipment – Some dental tools can look pretty intimidating. Nobody likes the idea of a pointy metal object going into their mouth. Don’t be embarrassed about asking your dental team what the tools are used for. Again, knowledge is power.
- Sensitive Gag Reflex – Let’s face it, dental visits are all about your mouth, so a sensitive gag reflex can cause significant stress. Focus on breathing through your nose to avoid that suffocating sensation. Nasal decongestants and nasal strips can help keep the airway open, making it easy to breathe freely. Throat sprays can help calm the gag reflex, and are effective for many people.
- Fear of Loud Noises – This is very common, even for people with no dental anxiety. Some simple solutions to drown out the noise are using earplugs, or putting in your ear buds and listening to your favorite music on your iPod.
- Discomfort in the Dental Chair – You may feel vulnerable or have back or neck pain that make lying back in the dental chair uncomfortable. Ask your dentist to reposition the chair if possible, or provide pillows to help you find the position that is most relaxing.
At Dentistry by Dr. Kaplansky, we have the benefit of years of research that help us understand the basis for the feelings of anxiety that impact so many of our patients. This research, combined with compassion, understanding, and advances in dental technology have enabled us to establish comfortable and calming approaches to your treatment.
There is no single solution for dental anxiety that will help everyone. It may be that a combination of approaches will be most effective for you. We respect your unique concerns, and our professional team is trained to help support you and make your dental treatments and procedures stress-free.