Not too many people actually look forward to spending time in the chair. However, millions of Americans have serious anxiety, and this often prevents them from seeking even basic preventative care. The consequences of not visiting us can go far beyond pain or lost teeth, including gum disease which can be linked to heart disease, stroke and diabetics.
If you’re afraid of dental exams, be aware that there are ways to help with dental anxiety and pain and make your experience a great deal more tolerable, if not comfortable.
- Search for an understanding periodontist. Look for recommendations from friends and family to begin with. Read recommendations on the web, as well.
- Talk to your periodontist. A good dentist realizes that not all patients have the same reactions or tolerance levels when it comes to pain and anxiety. By being open with your dentist, he or she can help made accommodations as necessary.
- First visits are generally exams or treatment plans. Use this time to get used to the sounds and scents of the office, and increase your comfort level. Consider taking a friend with you to your first appointment for support
- Arrange for a way to communicate with your periodontist. One of the reasons for dental chair anxiety is lack of control. Work out hand signals that allow you to tell your periodontist that you need to stop, or if you feel pain or sensation.
- Distract yourself. See if your periodontist will allow personal devices that allow you to listen to music or books while the dentist is working.
- Be aware that dental technology has probably changed drastically since you were last in a dental chair. This is especially true in the areas of pain management and infection. These days dental wands and numbing gels can help those who have a fear of needles, for example.
- Ask for a break if you need it.
- Be honest with your periodontist-if it hurts, say so. If you know you have a serious gag reflex, let the dentist or technician know in advance.
- If you have a high level of anxiety, try some basic relaxation moves, such as progressive muscle relaxation or breathing exercises.
Using these tips should help with dental anxiety and insure a pain free procedure. If you’d like to talk with us about how to get over your fears, get in touch with us! Fear of the dentist is treatable with the right approach and attitude. Our goal is always happy, pain free patients.
We look forward to hearing from you soon!