Easing Dental Anxiety: Coping Methods that Can Help

Posted by Evan Morse Feb 28, 2023

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Dental fear is a common issue, but being too afraid to see your dentist can negatively affect your oral health. In this blog post, we list some tips to ease dental fear. Read on.

Speak up about your fears

If your dentist doesn’t talk to you about your fears or concerns, it’s OK to broach the subject yourself. The longer you put off treatment, the worse your dental health may become. Once you’ve spoken up and told your dentist about your anxiety, you can start working together as a team to combat it. That may mean agreeing to a signal that you’ll give the dentist to let them know you need a break. It might also mean bringing a loved one with you when you come in for treatments. Don’t be afraid to speak up! Your dentist wants you to feel comfortable at their office.

Agree on a signal

Communicate with your dentist ahead of time to establish nonverbal signals that indicate you need or want a break. Your dentist will want you to feel as comfortable as possible during your treatment session, so if you have concerns about your level of comfort, be sure to communicate this to the dentist in advance! Asking for a break doesn’t mean you’re opting out of treatment—it just means you want a short break so you can recharge and continue on with your procedure feeling more relaxed and confident. For example, if you want a break after your first filling, you could raise your hand to indicate that you want to take a break for a few minutes while you take a breather. You might also use a simple “thumbs up” gesture to indicate you need a break or that you’re okay to continue with your process. These are simple signals that can be understood by both you and your dentist. Talk with your dentist about how you can agree on a signal to use during your appointment, so you know what to expect when the time comes. This can help you feel more prepared and less nervous when it’s time to receive your treatment.

Take a trusted person with you

Your dentist wants you or a family member to be as comfortable as possible while getting dental treatment done. If children fear the dentist, they may need to have someone with them during the appointment to comfort them. Some patients fear the dentist because they are embarrassed about the state of their teeth, and bringing someone with you can help ease this anxiety. This person can also ask questions for you, so you better understand what is happening with your teeth. Before your appointment, consider asking your dentist if he or she allows a friend or family member to sit in on your appointment. He or she may be okay with it as long as it does not interfere with your procedure.

Bring distractions

If the thought of going to the dentist makes you feel nervous and anxious, bring a distraction along with you to help calm your nerves. This can provide comfort and relaxation for many patients. Bringing a loved one can be beneficial as well, as they can distract you if you are feeling uncomfortable. Some patients are even able to listen to music through headphones.

Consider sedation dentistry

If fear of the dentist is preventing you from getting the oral care you need, talk to your dentist about your options for overcoming your fear. Sedation dentistry can help calm your nerves and make your appointment go more smoothly. Talk to your dentist about the different sedation options that may be available to you and which you may find to be the most effective. 

To learn more, contact our office at (225) 926-4640 and schedule your next appointment with us. You can also visit our dentist in Baton Rouge, LA, at 4616 Concord Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA, 70808. We look forward to helping you achieve and maintain the healthiest smile possible.

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4616 Concord Ave,
Baton Rouge, LA 70808

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