Adult’s Complete Checkup
Recent technological advancements mean that in many cases, dentists are able to deliver dental care in a comfortable setting in a fraction of the time that it once took. There are also a wide variety of safe anesthetics available to eliminate pain and reduce anxiety during routine appointments.
Patients worry about pain, gagging, not becoming numb with Novocain, embarrassment over their teeth, and any number of other concerns. While these fears can feel overwhelming, there are strategies you can follow to reduce your anxiety level.
- Talk to the dentist. It can be hard to talk about irrational fears with a stranger, but if you let your dentist know ahead of time, he or she can take extra precautions and be more attuned to your needs.
- Bring a portable music player. Music relaxes you, and drowns out any fear-producing noises. Listening to calming music throughout the appointment will help reduce anxiety.
- Agree on a signal. One of the most common fears is that the dentist will be unaware of the patient’s significant pain, and carry on with the procedure. The best way to solve this concern is to agree on a “stop” signal, such as tapping on the chair, that lets the dentist know to stop and check in.
- Spray the throat. Throat sprays, such as Vick’s Chloraseptic, can actually control the gag reflex. Two or three sprays will usually keep the reflex under control for about an hour.
- Take a mirror. Not being able to see what is happening can make the imagination run wild. Watching the procedure can help keep the reality of a simple dental procedure in mind.
- Sedation. If there is no other way to cope, sedation is an option to consider. There are several types, but all result in the patient regaining their faculties after treatment is complete.
- Ask about alternatives. Advances in technology mean that dental microsurgery is now an option. Lasers can be used to prepare teeth for fillings, whiten teeth, and remove staining. Discuss all the options with your dentist in light of your anxiety, to reach a joint decision about what’s best for you.
Dental anxiety is normal, but shouldn’t stop you from ensuring a healthy, happy, and beautiful mouth. The list above is a starting point for overcoming a fear of the dentist; our staff will gladly assist you with coping strategies to allay your concerns.