Many people have anxiety over visiting their dentist. Are you one of them? If so, you are not an exception. Half of all American adults are scared of dental check-ups, and one third refuses to go at all. Sometimes the fear patients feel is totally justified because some procedures are not simple at all, but on the other hand, most of them are totally acceptable. Nowadays, more and more dentists understand their patients’ fears, and with a combination of gentleness, kindness and proficiency can do lot to make dental treatment a normal part of life. Also, dental techniques have improved so much recently, that modern dental treatment can now be completely painless. The so called “sedation dentistry” aims to provide a path towards oral health without tears and fears.
Sedation dentistry uses medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. Sometimes it is referred to as “sleep dentistry”, although this is not an entirely accurate term. The levels of sedation are: minimal sedation (you are awake but relaxed), moderate sedation (you may not remember the whole procedure), deep sedation (you are almost unconscious) and general anesthesia (you are completely unconscious).
Avoiding dental appointments does not mean only a simple risk of cavity. Poor dental care can have long-term effects on your overall health. Luckily, new high-tech dental equipment, medications, dentist training programs about treating patients with anxiety are all at your disposal. You just have to show up for an appointment! Maybe you will find these steps towards a pain-free dental visit useful:
One of the first steps towards a happy dental experience is choosing the right dentist! Ask your friends or colleagues for a recommendation, or, ask a person with a similar fear to recommend his/her dentist. Sometimes it is helpful to visit the dental practice before you arrange an appointment. Or try to call in to speak to the receptionist in order to see what the atmosphere is like. It also says a lot about the practice if other patients sitting there look relaxed and happy. Do the dentist and dental assistant give you a feeling of confidence? Meet him and talk to him if he/she has some free time between the appointments!
Once you have chosen your dentist, tell him openly about your fear of treatments, so that he can help you. Be specific, tell him what it is that you particularly dislike about dental treatment and what may have caused that fear. Many people are afraid of the local anesthetic injection. If you are one of them, tell the dentist that this is something that makes you anxious because there are anesthetic gels that numb the gum so that you do not feel the needle at all. Also, when the treatment starts, make sure to tell your dentist when to stop for a few minutes. You can raise your hand to show him you need a break.
The best time of day to visit the dentist would be a time of day when you feel relaxed, do not have any other worries or appointments. Reserve an afternoon after you have done all the chores to visit the dentist and do not make appointments afterward, so that you do not have to be in rush. If it helps, bring a friend, a significant other or a relative with you. It is important that it is a person who can help you take your mind off the stress and cheer you up at all times. Think about nice things that always make you smile or anything that helps keep your mind occupied in a positive way. It can be your next holiday destination or your fun plans for the weekend. Or just listen to your favorite music before the appointment. Moreover, there are also various relaxation techniques you can learn.
The last but not the least, adequate oral hygiene is essential for less fear in the dental chair. Proper hygiene will keep your mouth in good shape, your dental appointments will be shorter and you will need less treatment. Does it not sound great? Think of it as a strategy for fewer dental visits! It is also absolutely necessary to visit your dentist regularly, at least once every six months.
If you follow these steps, your dental visits will just be easy sessions for checking and cleaning! The aim of mostly every dentist nowadays is to make your check-up a joyful and pain-free experience. Also, with the current dental technology advancements, pain-free dentistry is no longer a myth. As you get to know your dentist, your trust will increase and your fears will begin to decrease. In time dental appointments will become a normal part of your life and you will not even remember that once you were scared of dentists. In the best case scenario, you will laugh at your former self!