The fear of sitting in the dentist’s chair is so common that approximately 15% of adults avoid visiting the dentist because they are afraid.
Those are sobering statistics, especially considering the damaging effects of dental disease. Dental anxieties seem to be more common in older adults who may have experienced dental care when procedures were not as advanced. It’s possible they were the recipient of a dental procedure when anesthesia was not used and their comfort was not foremost in their dentist’s mind.
Great strides have been made in making a visit to the dentist more comfortable. But if you happen to be one of the fearful, here are FIVE strategies to help calm your fears:
- Talk to your dentist. If you’re anxious about a procedure, talk with your dentist about it. It could be that the “unknown” is what you fear, especially if it has been many years since you last visited a dentist. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Remember: your dentist is sometimes a patient, too!
- Consider medication. Today’s anesthesia is much more effective than in years past. Discuss with your dentist the varied possibilities, such as an oral medication taken the night before your procedure, numbing medication or nitrous oxide.
- Take a break. Breathe. Especially during long procedures, anxiety can build and you may begin to feel claustrophobic. If you feel, at any time, like you need take a break, let your dentist know.
- Talk with your hands. It’s difficult to communicate with your dentist with a mouthful of dental tools. Talk to your dentist before your procedure about how you will communicate any pain or sensation you may feel.
- Get distracted. Let your mind wander; think about something else. Have your smart phone or mobile-device near and listen to the radio, a podcast or an audio book.
If you find that you tend to worry excessively about what might happen at the dentist’s office, Dr. Lerner and Dr. Lemongello can put your fears to rest. Call for a consultation, today: (561) 627-9000.
Your continued oral health is well worth the effort.