Easing Dental Anxiety: Coping Methods that Can Help

Posted by Kirby Smiles Feb 28,2023

Are you someone who avoids going to the dentist because you are afraid? Talk with your dentist about your fears and anxieties. Talk to your dentist about your concerns. He or she may be able to ease your fears. If you have dental anxiety, here are a few helpful tips:

Speak up about your fears

If you are afraid of the dentist, speak up about it. Let your dentist know how you feel. It’s better to tell your dentist about your anxiety than to keep quiet and experience intense fear and discomfort during your dental appointment.

Once your dentist knows you are afraid, they can work with you to ease your anxiety and create a comfortable environment for you. Sedation dentistry can help you feel more relaxed during your visit to the dentist. Most forms of sedation do not put you to sleep but instead help you feel calmer and more relaxed. 

Agree on a signal

When you are in the dentist’s chair, you may want to take a signal to let your dentist know if you need a break. When your dentist sees the signal that you’re giving off, they will stop for a minute or two to give you a quick break.

Take a trusted person with you

For some people, it’s helpful to have a loved one or friend accompany you to your appointment to help calm nerves and ease tension. This person can be your advocate in the operatory, helping you form questions and even taking notes if you like. They can also respond to any questions the dentist may have for you as well.

Bring distractions

Distractions are another great way to ease anxiety during dental treatments. Some patients find that bringing headphones and listening to calming music helps distract them during treatment, while others find comfort in a favorite book or movie. These can help to distract you from the noises of the tools being used and keep you calm and relaxed during your appointments.

Consider sedation dentistry

Sedation dentistry is an effective way to relieve anxiety and discomfort associated with dental procedures. If you suffer from dental anxiety, ask your dentist if sedation is right for you. There are several different types of sedation. Your doctor will discuss the options and find the one that is best for you. Here are some of the available types of sedation:

  • Inhaled minimal sedation – Commonly known as laughing gas, this is administered through a mask worn over the nose. It will make you feel relaxed and a little giddy. Because you are awake for the procedure, your reflexes are not dulled, and you are able to respond to the doctor’s instructions. Once treatment is complete, the nitrous oxide will be turned off, and you will breathe pure oxygen for a few minutes to flush any remaining gas out of your body. There are no lingering effects, and you can resume your normal activities immediately.
  • Oral conscious sedation – A pill is taken about an hour before your appointment. It is similar to a sedative that you would take on an airplane to help you sleep through the flight. By the time you arrive at our office, you will be feeling extremely relaxed. You will remain awake during the procedure but will not feel any pain or remember any of the noises or smells of the office. You will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment as you will not legally be allowed to drive after taking this medication. You will be groggy for the rest of the day after the procedure, so plan on taking it easy.
  • Intravenous sedation – This form of sedation is administered through a needle in your vein. It produces a deep level of sedation that may not be suitable for every person. Some people experience hallucinations and/or amnesia after the procedure due to the intense nature of the sedation. This type of sedation is most often used by oral surgeons during extensive procedures such as wisdom teeth extractions and dental implant placement.

To learn more about our dental services, visit Kirby Smiles at 3695 Kirby Dr. Suite 129, Pearland 77584, or call 281-941-5488.

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3695 Kirby Dr. Suite 129,
Pearland, TX 77584

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