Learning to Cope with Dental Anxiety

August 22, 2019

At Hadlock Dental Center, we are well aware that very few people enjoy coming to the dentist. Many people suffer from general dental anxiety, while others have deep seated fears regarding dentistry. These anxieties often stem from one or several bad experiences that occurred in a patient’s past. We absolutely understand how these experiences can alter your feelings towards dentistry as a whole. For anyone that is ready to take on their dental anxiety, we are here to support you. If you suffer from dental anxiety, or “hate going to the dentist” we do not take it personally! We work very hard to make all of our patients as comfortable as possible. 

 Communicating with your dentist

Clear communication is always important.


Clear Communication
Being open and honest is the best thing you can do to help us accommodate your needs. You can do this with your first call to our office. Informing our front office staff is helpful, as they will pass the information along to whomever you will be seeing for your appointment. If it’s helpful we can always give you a tour of the office, let you meet our staff and give us a chance to understand your concerns before your sitting in the chair. Once you are acquainted with our office, if during any appointment you are uncomfortable always let us know. We want to understand what you’re experiencing and how you’re feeling,  as this helps us do our jobs better and treat your individual needs. If you had a particular bad experience in the past or a certain aspect of dentistry concerns you, please let us know. 

 

Nitrous Oxide helps calm nerves before a procedure.

Nitrous Oxide is a great option for anyone feeling nervous about treatment.

Comforts and Sedation
We offer blankets and neck pillows to make your appointments more comfortable. We also offer low level sedation. Most people are familiar with “laughing gas” or nitrous oxide. Nitrous is safe and effective. You’ll receive 5+ minutes of oxygen at the end of your appointment and when it’s over, the nitrous will be out of your system completely. That means that you can drive yourself to and from your appointment, making scheduling easier. The goal of nitrous is to help you feel more relaxed, and care less about the procedure. We always start with a low level to determine your tolerance and can always adjust the nitrous oxide as needed. 

Stay Distracted
For most people a source of distraction is helpful. We encourage you to bring something to listen to, to help you focus on something besides your procedure. Whether you want to get lost in an audiobook or podcast or want to listen to relaxing music, we encourage you to bring any form of listening material that will help you. Focusing on your breathing is also helpful. This is easier said than done, but if you find yourself getting nervous in the chair, bringing your focus to your breath can ease tension and redirect your attention. 

At the end of the day, we understand that most of the patients who walk through our door are not excited. We believe that your fears and concerns are always valid, and work hard to understand any triggers. We will work with you to sort out what may be causing your anxiety and strive to provide multiple options to make your appointments easier to endure. We simply ask that you be open with us so that we are able to best serve your individual needs. If you are not yet a patient of ours, and would like to talk with us about your fears and how we can help you, please give us a call!

 

References 

Colgate

https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/basics/dental-visits/what-is-dental-anxiety-and-phobia

ADA

https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/a/anxiety

Dental Research Journal

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4432608/

 


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