“I’m scared because I have no idea what’s going on or what to expect.”
“That absolutely terrifying sound of the drill sends shivers down my spine.”
“I have terrible teeth, I’m just so embarrassed.”
“I can’t go to the dentist. If I do, I’ll have a full-fledge panic attack.”
It’s actually much more common than you may think to feel this way. Dental anxiety is very common and totally natural. I mean, why wouldn’t it be natural to be afraid of someone coming at your face with sharp tools? It isn’t exactly something we want. But the good news is that there are things you can do to make the experience bearable, and even pleasant!
It all starts with finding the right dentist.
Things your dentist can do to make your visit less scary:
If you have dental anxiety, make sure to find a dentist who understands where you’re coming from. There are many different things dentists can do to make appointments less frightening. Here at Alpine Smiles, we offer movies, music, pillows and blankets to make you more comfortable during your visit! It’s important to seek out a dentist that lets you have control in the chair, explains things thoroughly and doesn’t make you feel embarrassed for being afraid. It’s even okay to interview a few dentists if you think it is necessary so you can see if you feel comfortable talking to him or her about your apprehension.
Things you can do to make your visit less scary:
Avoid caffeine for at least six hours before your appointment, that way you are less anxious
Eat high-protein foods one hour before your visit and it can calm your anxiety
Focus on breathing regularly and slowly. Concentrate on pausing for a couple seconds between breaths. People with anxiety tend to hold their breath, which decreases their oxygen levels and further increases the feeling of panic.
Agree upon a specific gesture with your dentist, such as a hand signal so you can alert him or her to pause. This is great if you have ever been afraid of losing control while in the dental chair.
Use a blanket during your visit. Pressure on the body from a weighted blanket can relieve anxiety at the dentist. For many years, people have gotten relief from the heavy lead vest used while taking x-rays.
Ask for nitrous oxide. Millions of apprehensive patients every year receive extensive dental work under the effects of nitrous oxide. These patients admit, that without the option of nitrous oxide, they would not actively seek dental care. Nitrous oxide is also a safe and proven technique that is inexpensive and readily available.
If you’ve been avoiding the dentist because of anxiety, give us a call and we can work together to make your visit something you don’t have to fear!
Dr. Joedi Pasut
Alpine Smiles Family Dentistry
1600 W. University Ave #113