Be it a fear of a roller-coaster or a fear of insects, we all have some phobias that make us anxious to a point that we try everything we can, to avoid it. A most common phobia that many people (almost 75% Americans) have is a dental phobia. Many people have avoided dentists for so long that their oral health has not been taken care of in years. If you are one of these people who feel anxious getting your oral health checked, whether you have had an unpleasant experiences in the past or have plain anxiety, there are several things you can do to keep your dental phobia in check.
Many reputable dentists in Pennsylvania offer sedation dentistry to keep you at ease. Different options are available, including IV sedation, local anesthetics, general anesthesia, as well as medication to calm you down. Not every dentist in Pennsylvania is qualified to administer all types of sedation; hence, ask your dentist beforehand what his or her office offers.
Some dentists in Pennsylvania specialize in handling anxious patients by creating a calm, soothing atmosphere that is nothing like a typical dental office. These dentists create a relaxing atmosphere by dressing in casual clothing instead of a typical white coat, relinquishing medical posters on the walls about dentures and gum diseases, or playing gentle music or soothing sounds in the office.
Do not be hesitant to let the dentist know you are anxious. If you tell the dentist you are anxious, he or she will do everything to make you feel calm and comfortable. Ask your dentist to talk to you for a few minutes before proceeding to the exam. This casual conversation will help you both know each other well. If you prefer, tell the dentist that you like to have an initial consultation to get familiar, and then come back again the next day for the treatment.
While you visit the dentist, take control of the situation. Carry along a nice book or magazine to read so you do not get anxious while waiting in the waiting room. Listen to your favorite music on your iPod or iPhone, which will serve as an excellent distraction. You can also ask, at the clinic, what options are available that may help you feel at ease. Dentists are accustomed, to having patients with anxiety; therefore, they may have several options to help patients feel at ease. When you visit the dentist, consider taking a friend or family member with you. The presence of someone you trust will help you stay calm. A friend or family member may also remind you to try different relaxation techniques like deep breathing.
After your appointment, reward yourself. Treat yourself to a nice dinner at your favorite restaurant. Giving yourself a reward will inspire you to overcome your dental and dentist anxiety.
Follow the above tips and even individuals with severe anxiety will be on their way to a healthy mouth!