A good dentist knows that some people don’t enjoy going to the dentist. But a great dentist will do all they can to help their less-than-enthusiastic patients have the best experience possible during their visit. Some studies suggest that more than 50% of dental patients have some degree of fear and anxiety which prevents them from visiting the dentist on a regular basis.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind that will help ease your anxiety before and during your dental visit:
· Talk to our dental staff about your anxiety when you set your appointment, and then tell us again when you come in. We understand and will take our time to talk with you about your cleaning or procedure (if you want us to, of course) and together we will discover what we can do to help you.
· Take deep, slow breaths to ease rapid breathing and lower blood pressure. Sometimes rapid breathing and high blood pressure are symptoms of White Coat Syndrome.
· Bring music you will find relaxing, along with some ear buds, and feel free to listen to your tunes while in the dental chair. If you forget your music, just ask and will get you some headphones and music for you.
· Meditation has been shown to lower stress and anxiety. The morning of your visit, or in the car right before you come in, is a great time to do some meditation and can set your mind and body up for a less stressful experience. Visualize a successful visit in your mind.
· If you’re worried about pain, take the recommended dose of over-the-counter Tylenol or Ibuprofen about one hour before your appointment.
· Nitrous Oxide is available for patients upon request. Nitrous oxide is a safe and effective sedative agent that is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask that fits over your nose to help you relax.
I’ve been practicing dentistry for more than four decades and have met all sorts of patients on the “dental fear” scale. I understand that seeing me isn’t always the highlight of your day, and for some, dental visits invoke real fear. Often these fears come from previous traumatic events, White Coat Syndrome, or from having few dental experiences. My promise to you is we will do all we can to help you feel at ease and comfortable while you are here. And hopefully, you will leave having something to smile about.
Until next time,
Dr. Linda Kay Nichols, D.M.D., P.A.