Studies have found that anywhere from 60% to 75% of adults in this country are afraid of the dentist, and 5% to 10% of these people have a fear so strong that they are classified as having a “dental phobia.” It may be because of a past experience with a bad dentist (or a procedure that didn’t go as planned) or because of the imagination running wild about what might happen during a procedure. You don’t need to have a reason that others see as “reasonable” – whatever your reason is, it is reasonable to you! However, dental care is important, and if it’s neglected it will only lead to more problems later. Sedation dentistry is always an option, but here are some other tips for alleviating anxiety about going to the dentist:
- Find a dentist who is willing to explain the upcoming procedure to you in detail: what it entails and how long it will last, for instance. Explain your fears and let the dentist address them. Often just having a dentist who will listen can make all the difference.
- Make sure that, before the appointment, you avoid caffeinated drinks, which will only contribute to your anxiety! Instead, try a snack that is high in protein, which can calm you down.
- Keep your mind off the procedure. Bring in your favorite music and listen to it with your earbuds in and your eyes closed. Ask a friend to come in with you to help you stay calm.
- Learn more about sedation dentistry. There’s nothing wrong with being sedated and avoiding the anxiety altogether. You can choose to be mildly sedated, with nitrous oxide, awake and responsive with an oral sedative, or asleep, with an IV sedative.
If you are afraid of going to the dentist, you aren’t alone! The staff at the Konig Center for Cosmetic and Comprehensive Dentistry in Houston, Texas, can help to ease your fears so that you can get the treatment you need for healthy teeth. Call (713) 668-2289 to make an appointment, or if you have any questions about sedation dentistry.