Even though we think everyone should love visiting their dentist, we get that some people out there just don’t share our enthusiasm. What’s not to like about making regular visits to friendly dentist to maintain a clean, healthy shiny smile?
While you may, eventually, enjoy the product of your regular teeth cleanings and dental exams, you may also not really be a fan of the process, or the actual visit. And you may even be one of those folks out there who procrastinate about visiting the dentist, or who even come up with excuses why you don’t need to visit us. If you are, you’re in good company. As many as 40 million Americans avoid seeing a dentist because of dental anxiety, according to a study at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine.
OK, so while visiting the dentist may not be in the top 10 favorite things you do every year, regularly visiting us does offer some big benefits, such as preventing tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease, as well as keeping the costs down for needing more serious dental procedures – root canals, or replacing a missing tooth.
While we’ll always strive to make your visits as friendly and entertaining as possible, if you are fearful about visiting your dentist, and you’re nervous about an upcoming dental visit, here are some ways to help curb your anxiety:
- Share your fears. If you’re tense or anxious, please tell our dental staff and dentists. Expressing your concerns will help us adapt a dental treatment to your needs.
- Focus on your breathing. When people are nervous, they often hold their breath in, which decreases oxygen levels and further increases feelings of panic. As is the case with meditation techniques, focusing on slow, regular breaths will help you to reduce your stress level.
- Listen to some music. If you’re not a fan of drill noises, we’ve got you covered with headphones and plenty of music.
- Watch what you eat and drink. Try to avoid consuming caffeine before your dental appointment. Eating high-protein foods before your appointment is also helpful, as these foods, unlike sugary foods, help to produce a calming effect.
- Use your hands. To help you feel more confident and in control during your procedure, we’ll discuss hand signals to communicate with us. When you feel uncomfortable, signal us to ease off or stop the procedure.
- Choose a low-stress appointment time. Select a time for your dental visit when you are less likely to feel rushed or under pressure. This might mean an early morning appointment on Tuesdays, Thursdays or Fridays, or coming in after work on Wednesdays.
- Find a good review. If it’s been a while since you visited a dentist, or you just want a new dentist, ask your friends and relatives for recommendations. A glowing review about a dentist from someone you trust can help reduce your anxiety. We’ve actually helped many patients with dental anxiety actually look forward to visiting us for their dental care —> Here’s a patient success story!
Your fears don’t need to prevent you from having a friendlier dental experience. Aside from these helpful tips, our dentists may also offer some form of sedation dentistry to help you feel less anxious. The most important component, however, is to communicate with our dental staff and our dentists if you have any types of dental fears or anxieties. By having a better understanding of these fears, we’ll be able to make your dental visit with us as comfortable and rewarding as possible.
Need a little dental anxiety relief? Let us know. Just call us at (206) 524-1000 or contact us online to let us know that you’ll need a little extra TLC when you schedule your dental appointment with us.