October 6, 2019
It’s October, a month when some of us go out of our way to feel frightened. We watch scary movies and go to haunted houses. Yet even people who get a thrill out of these kinds of experiences may avoid coming to our office because of dental fear.
Unfortunately this can turn into a kind of vicious circle, where small issues become bigger problems. Skipping dental cleanings makes you more susceptible to cavities. While we can fix small cavities with a filling, larger ones will require a dental crown – which requires us to remove more of your tooth structure. Left untreated, decay can cause a painful infection inside your tooth. We’ll need to perform a root canal at that point.
The good news is, our team can help you overcome your dental fear. We’ll help you become more comfortable when you visit the dentist. Try our seven tips for lessening stress during your appointments; they’ve helped many of our patients. If you have questions about our advice or need to schedule a visit, call 828-355-5673.
Tell Us What Bothers You
Please share any concerns with us, as well as any past experiences that have fed your dental fear. We’ll use strategies that can help. If needles bother you, for example, we can use a topical numbing agent so you won’t feel a needle stick if we need to administer local anesthesia. If you’ve had problems becoming numb or have sensitive teeth, we can administer dental sedation.
See Us Early in the Morning
Just thinking about dental appointments bothers some folks. If you’re one of them, schedule an early morning appointment. That way, you won’t spend all day worrying about it. We offer appointments beginning at 8 a.m. You’ll find our office is often quieter at that time of day, which may also help ease your dental fear.
Let Us Know if You Need a Break
While some patients like to get their procedures over as soon as possible, many folks find it less stressful if they can take a short break. That’s not a problem! We’ll agree on a signal, such as a raised hand, so you can let us know if and when you’d like to pause for a moment. We can schedule slightly longer appointments for you to allow for breaks. That also gives us more time to explain your treatment and answer all of your questions.
Envision Positive Outcomes to Fight Dental Fear
Thinking about the positive results of your procedure is often a good way to fight dental fear. For example, your teeth will feel clean and look great after a dental cleaning. Plus, you can pat yourself on the back for taking a proactive step to fight cavities.
Try Deep Breathing or Other Relaxation Exercises
Many people find it calming to breathe deeply and count each breath. Deep breaths not only lower your heart rate and reduces tension, they signal your brain to tell your body to relax. You can practice deep breathing before your appointment. During your appointment you can concentrate on your muscles, then relax different groups one by one.
Sniff Your Way to Stress Relief
Research shows that the use of essential oils encourages a biochemical reaction similar to one created by anti-anxiety medications. Lavendar is especially popular for stress relief. It affects the part of your brain that is connected to emotional response and memories and calms your nervous system. Two others that are often suggested for stress relief are bergamot and clary sage oil.
Relieve Dental Fear With Sedation
If you still feel anxious about treatment even after trying these strategies, you can receive dental sedation. You have two choices at our office, neither of which involves needles. Your options are:
- Laughing Gas – When you breathe this in through a small mask over your nose, you relax almost immediately. We can easily adjust the amount you receive during treatment if necessary, to give you more or less. It wears off quickly enough that you’ll be able to drive yourself home.
- Oral Sedative – We can provide you with a safe prescription pill. If you take it at home, you’ll arrive feeling relaxed and remain that way throughout your appointment. For an even deeper level of relaxation, we can give you laughing gas too. You will need to arrange for a ride home as you’ll feel groggy for several hours.
To schedule a stress-free visit, call us today at 828-355-5673.