Treating Dental Anxiety: How to Prepare for a Visit to the Dentist

dental anxiety Fort Lauderdale, FL

Dental anxiety is a common problem that affects many people around the world. It leads to people avoiding going to the dentist until any dental issues advance to the point the pain and discomfort caused by it force them to go to the dentist.

There are a variety of reasons why people develop dental anxiety. It can be the result of bad past experiences with dentists, fear of pain or a fear of others getting to see what their teeth look like up close. Regardless of the cause, dental anxiety should be addressed since failing to do so can eventually lead to serious dental problems.

Getting past dental anxiety

One of the first steps a person can take towards overcoming dental anxiety is communicating their fears to their dentist. This should be done when scheduling their appointment. Patients typically feel less nervous when the dentist is aware of their anxiety and they feel in control during their treatments.

Other simple ways patients can manage their anxiety prior to their dental appointment include:

  • Take deep breaths: Anxiety tends to make people hold their breath, and that lowers the concentration of oxygen in their blood, which intensifies their feelings of anxiety. Patients can reduce their anxiety by making sure they are taking deep breaths whenever their anxiety creeps in
  • Listen to relaxing music: Music can keep patients relaxed during their treatments and drown out the sounds made by some of the tools dentists use, like dental drills
  • Avoid food items that increase anxiety: Sugar and caffeine can leave a person jittery and that will only make their anxiety worse
  • Talk to the dentist about a signal: At times, anxious patients simply need a break, so come up with a hand signal that lets the dentist know you need a time out
  • Select the right appointment time: Patients do not want to be feel rushed or pressured during their treatments as that only increases their anxiety

Dentists also have a few tricks under their sleeves that can help to keep patients with dental phobias relaxed during their treatments. Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, is a mild anesthetic that elevates the patient's mood and keeps them relaxed during treatments.

The patient remains conscious while the gas is being administered and its effects are felt within minutes of the gas being inhaled. It is typically delivered using a nose mask and the dentist can adjust how much gas is going into the patient's nose as needed. The effects of nitrous oxide wear off very quickly and patients can typically safely drive themselves home afterward. Nitrous oxide has been proven to be an effective way to make people with dental anxiety feel relaxed during treatments.

Don't be scared of the dentist

Dentists are here to make you feel better, not cause you pain and discomfort. Call our Fort Lauderdale clinic today if you need help coping with your dental anxiety.

Request an appointment here: or call Smiles By Julia at (954) 271-8034 for an appointment in our Fort Lauderdale office.

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