If you suffer from dental anxiety, you’re not alone. An estimated forty million Americans suffer from anxiety about going to the dentist. As you can imagine (or maybe you don’t have to!), this can lead people to forgo going to the dentist or to skip appointments and treatment even when they’re in pain or experiencing an infection. You don’t have to let dental anxiety damage your oral health. You have options when it comes to your dental treatment!
If you’re anxious about visiting the dentist, talk with your dentist’s office about sedation dentistry before your visit. Sedation dentistry is the practice of using medication to help you relax during your visit. There are several types of sedation, depending upon your anxiety level as well as your preference. You may opt to be minimally sedated, meaning you’ll still be awake and aware, yet relaxed. If the thought of still being aware during the procedure makes you anxious, you may choose to be moderately sedated, in which you’ll still be conscious, but likely not remember the procedure.
If you want to be even further sedated, you could ask your dentist for a deep sedation, in which you’ll be barely conscious, or finally, just have general anesthesia done, in which you’re completely unconscious. Most dentist offices offer sedation dentistry and you’ll need to confirm and ask what types will be available to you on the day of your visit.
When was the last time you went to the dentist? If it’s been a little while, remember that modern technology has changed the field of dentistry and the dentist today likely isn’t the dentist of your childhood memories. Most of the tools the dentists use are quiet, small, and minimally invasive. Technology makes many dental procedures less invasive, such as laser treatments and quiet drills. Nearly any treatment offered by your dentist now is able to be completely pain-free! It’s always important to voice your fears to your dentist or dentist office before treatment so that your appointment will be comfortable and painless for you.
Finding the Right Dentist
Remember that while dental appointments and dental work might make you anxious, the longer you put off treatment, the more work you’ll need and the worse your oral health will be. So while it’s challenging to visit a dentist while you have anxiety, you can start by looking for the right dentist to help you. The right dentist will be someone who’s caring and compassionate, especially in regards to your dental anxiety. You might start by asking your friends and family for recommendations: dental anxiety is very common, and some people might be able to recommend a dentist they’ve had positive experiences with even with dental anxiety. There are plenty of dentists out there who see patients with dental anxiety all the time—you just have to find a dentist that you’re confident will fit your needs.
Take the time to visit different dentist offices, talk to the receptionists, ask about sedation dentistry, and even meet the dentist. Don’t delay your dental appointments because of your anxiety—remember that you can find the best dentist for you with a little research, and sedation dentistry and technology can help make your appointment worry-free!