Biannual dental appointments can help you keep your teeth healthy. Most people should have their teeth checked and cleaned at least once every six months. However, it's common for people to have anxiety about visiting a dentist's office. Managing your dental anxiety will allow you to comfortably get the dental care you need. Here are four ways you can reduce your anxiety about going to the dentist.
1. Schedule your dental appointment in advance.
Some people find that unexpected surprises heighten their anxiety. When you know what to expect, you can mentally prepare yourself. Give yourself time to prepare for your dental appointment by scheduling it well in advance. Most dentists will be happy to help you in this endeavor, encouraging patients to schedule their next dental appointment as soon as their last appointment concludes.
2. Tell your dentist about your anxiety.
Dentists work with a wide variety of patients, all of whom have different responses to dental treatments. You aren't the first nervous patient your dentist has ever treated. However, knowing about your fears can help your dentist provide the highest quality of care. Tell your dentist about your anxiety at the beginning of your appointment. When dentists know that their patients are worried, they can take extra steps to put you at ease. Your dentist can work slowly, explaining every part of the treatment process to you. Many patients find that knowing what to expect eases their anxiety.
3. Ask about anxiety medication.
If you're still too anxious for comfort, ask your dentist about anxiety medication that may be available to you. Anxiolytic drugs can ease your mind, allowing you to relax during your dental appointment. Some anxiety treatments, such as nitrous oxide, are fast-acting and quick to vacate your system. You can take advantage of nitrous oxide in-office and still be able to drive safely home after your appointment. Your dentist will be happy to discuss sedation dentistry options with you before or during your appointment.
4. Bring a distraction.
Some dental appointments can last for an hour or more, especially if you need work done on your teeth. Distracting yourself can help the appointment pass more quickly. Consider bringing headphones to your next dental appointment. Some patients find that listening to music helps them stay calm. Sunglasses can help by blocking out the light from your dentist's lamp, allowing you to rest your eyes for the duration of your procedure.