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How to Handle Dental Anxiety

How to Handle Dental Anxiety


Fear of the dentist and dental anxiety (odontophobia) is one of the most common reasons why people don’t get the dental care that they deserve. The other reason is feeling that you can’t afford dental care because you don’t have dental insurance. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help both of these problems. But let’s address the biggest concern on your mind for now: handling your dental anxiety.

Tell Your Dentist

Don’t assume that your dentist knows that you’re nervous. Even though you may be highly anxious, some people can hide their anxiety. It may be that your dentist is so gentle, he or she is used to people looking forward to their appointments!

Let your dentist know of any history you’ve had concerning a bad dental experience, or which areas of your mouth are hurting. Communicating your exact concerns and fears is the best way to assure that your dentist is attentive to your needs.

Believe us when we say that your dentist wants you to be comfortable. The more at ease you feel, the more efficient he or she can accomplish what needs to be done during your appointment.

Ask for “Laughing Gas”

Nitrous oxide is a safe, mild sedative used in everyday dentistry. Everyone from children to adults can use it. It’s so gentle, that after your appointment you can drive yourself back home…it leaves your system that quickly!

Often called “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide is combined with pure oxygen and breathed in through a soft nosepiece. It takes a few minutes to reach peak effectiveness and is monitored and adjusted throughout the entire visit. Once it’s turned off, the effects are gone within about five minutes.

While laughing gas is a mild sedative, you’re still fully conscious. You know what’s going on around you and can answer questions. You can even feel the dentist working on you…but…you just won’t care as much!

Consider Conscious Oral Sedation or an IV Sedation Dentist

For deeper relaxation, ask your dentist if he or she offers in-house sedation. There are different levels available, most often conscious (oral) and intravenous. Opting for in-house sedation can give you the opportunity to catch up on all your necessary dental work in just one appointment. This solution can make it easier for you to relax through simpler, maintenance appointments from here on out.

Sedation doesn’t just have to be for getting oral surgery like a wisdom tooth removal. It’s a perfect option to:

  • Ease your phobia or anxiety related to dental care
  • Schedule fewer appointments
  • “Sleep” or daydream your way through the entire procedure
  • Forget what happened at the appointment

In many situations, sedation dentistry is an excellent first step to overcoming fear of the dentist.

Bring Your Headphones with You

Tuning out the sights and sounds around you is a great way to “distract” your way through a dental appointment. Some dentists are even using things like movie goggles or ceiling-mounted television screens to keep your mind off things during treatment.

Another convenient solution is to bring your phone loaded with your favorite playlist and a good set of earbuds. Turn up your tunes and tune out the background noises until your procedure is over! In fact, some people even enjoy bringing a blanket to cover up with, just to give them an added touch of comfort.

Find a Provider You Feel Comfortable With

One of the best ways to “enjoy” your dental appointment is to find someone you feel relaxed around. Your dentist shouldn’t rush you in-and-out, but take the time necessary to keep you comfortable. Their staff should be friendly and attentive to your needs. If they aren’t early on, then they probably won’t be later. You owe it to yourself to try another office. But don’t avoid your dental care altogether…it could wind up costing you (both monetarily and physically) later down the road.

Find an affordable, in-network family dentist that offers sedation with the help of If you’re putting your appointment off because of fear related to how big your dental bill will be, let us know! We’ll work with you to find an affordable dental discount plan that fits your budget.

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