You’ve dutifully made your dental appointment for a cleaning or to discuss Invisalign, but you’re still nervous, even though you know your teeth are in the very best of hands. Dental anxiety is common. Whether you’ve had bad experiences in the past or have a phobia, what you’re feeling is totally normal. But fear doesn’t need to rule your life when you step into the dentist’s office. Letting your dentist and staff know you’re nervous goes a long way in helping ensure you have the very best experience possible.
How Do I Tell My Dentist I’m Nervous?
Letting the receptionist or practice manager know you’ve got fear when you’re booking an appointment helps them know to take extra care when you come in for your visit. Whether you’re afraid of needles, experience social anxiety or are dreading the visit itself, chances are it’s not as obvious to others as you think it is. As good as your doctor and their staff are, they aren’t mind readers.
If you can pinpoint a specific fear — needles, the sound of the equipment used for fillings, whatever — mention it and ask what can be done to help. Otherwise, it’s as simple as taking a deep breath and letting them know you’re nervous when you arrive for your appointment.
How Can My Dentist’s Office Help?
Many dental offices, including that of Drs. Krieger and Hur, are practicing painless dentistry — a form of dentistry that includes making sure you’re as at ease as possible. From the moment you call to book your appointment, your comfort, both mental and physical, is treated with the utmost importance. From creating a welcoming and calming ambience in the office to explaining what’s going to happen before you get in the chair, painless dentistry can help soothe your anxiety.
If you have a specific fear, your dentist may be able to recommend a gentler alternative to help you get through your appointment more easily. Using a fear of needles as an example, if you need a filling your dentist may pre-numb your gums and distract you before administering anesthetic, making the process easier and pain free.
What If I’m Too Afraid to Go to the Dentist?
If your fear is so great that you’re not getting into the office when you should and your oral health is suffering, it may be worth it to speak to a counselor, psychiatric professional or your general practitioner about steps you can take to conquer your fear. Therapy, anxiolytic medications and behavioral coping mechanisms can all help you beat the fear of going to the dentist. Because your dental health is so important to maintaining your overall health, this isn’t a fear you can afford to just accept. Finding ways to make visiting the dentist bearable — if not enjoyable — is vital to ensuring your wellness.
Anxiety Medications and Dental Health
If you’re already taking medication to help cope with your nervousness about going to the dentist, you need to tell your dentist’s office at the time of your appointment. Medications designed to quell anxiety such as Klonopin, Valium or Xanax can have implications for your dental health.
Dry mouth can result from the use of anxiolytics or even anxiety itself, which can, in turn, contribute to a buildup of plaque and allow bacteria to grow wild — meaning you might end up in the office more than you would ever like to. Not only that, but the use of these medications may alter or interfere with the use of anesthetics, making it extra important to mention if you’re having extensive work done at the time of your visit.
Dealing with Dental Anxiety
There are a number of ways you can deal with anxiety over going to the dentist’s office. Practicing mindfulness, taking deep breaths or using other coping mechanisms to ease anxiety can help you make it through a visit on your own. But you don’t have to face your fear alone: telling your dentist’s office that you’re nervous, whether you have a specific fear or a general one, goes a long way in helping you conquer your fear and take charge of your health — dental and mental.
Painless, Fearless Dentistry
The offices of Drs. Krieger and Hur take the fear out of dentistry. Not only do we do everything we can do reduce any pain or anxiety, we can get you in and out of the office quickly! Give us a call at 201-560-0606 or email us here and we’ll get you fast-tracked back to eye-catching confidence.
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