What to Do if You’re Nervous About Visiting the Dentist
It’s completely normal to feel a little nervous about an upcoming dentist appointment or procedure. However, anxiety can make your experience incredibly stressful. Fortunately, there are several ways we can help you relieve stress and make your visit as smooth as possible. From sedation dentistry to other tactics for natural stress relief, here’s how you can handle dental anxiety.
Ready to schedule a stress-free appointment? Call us today.
Addressing Dental Anxiety Is Important
Some people may feel little to no nervousness going into a dentist visit. Others may have difficulty even preparing for regular check-ups. Fear of pain or loss of control, a bad experience at the dentist as a child, and feeling self-conscious or embarrassed can all lead to dental anxiety. These feelings may even cause you to push back preventive care or the treatment you need to maintain a healthy mouth.
However, avoiding routine appointments can have severe effects on your oral health:
- Tooth Decay: An important part of a dental cleaning is removing plaque from the teeth to prevent tooth decay. Missing dental appointments allows tartar and gingivitis to build up, creating even more significant problems, such as cavities, down the road. Severe decay can also lead to a root canal infection, which may require extraction.
- Gum Disease: Gum disease is caused by plaque buildup along the gumline. When left undetected, the infection can damage gum tissues and surrounding structures of the mouth. With time, this can cause deterioration of the jawbone and widespread tooth loss.
- Bad Breath and Yellow Teeth: Routine dental appointments help keep your whole mouth healthy. Stains can settle on your teeth due to your diet or bad dental habits, but a deep cleaning from a hygienist can help remove surface stains before they settle into the tooth.
- Oral Cancer: The main way oral cancer is detected is during a routine dental appointment. During the examination phase, the dentist looks for any abnormalities, such as abscess or discolored patch, and can take tissue samples to catch any cancer early on.
How Sedation Dentistry Can Help
When anxiety gets in the way of your dental care, start a conversation with your holistic dentist about sedation dentistry. When performed by a trained professional, like our certified registered nurse anesthetist, sedation dentistry is safe and a suitable method for improving your dental care experience. This service can certainly be offered for dental surgeries and more invasive procedures. However, we can also use it for regular appointments and exams if necessary.
There are different levels of sedation that have varying effects. Local sedation is used to numb a particular area of the mouth and does not affect your consciousness during the procedure. For this type of sedation, medication is administered directly to the area that needs to be numbed. Some options can help keep you calm and relaxed while still allowing you to stay awake.
General anesthesia causes you to lose consciousness for the entirety of the procedure. Our CRNA will insert a small IV needle to administer medication. The effects are almost immediate, calming your body and preventing pain. We’ll monitor your vitals, including your breathing, oxygen, heart rate, and blood pressure, the entire time.
Other Natural Stress Relief Options
There are several other all-natural options for stress relief that can help you ease nervousness:
- Practice deep breathing and meditation
- Consider taking natural stress-relief supplements and essential oils
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and sugary foods
- Listen to calming music prior to and during the appointment
- Do some light exercise before the appointment to help clear your mind
Most importantly, make sure to discuss your dental anxiety with your dentist. It completely normal for you to feel nervous about your appointment, and we are here to ease the process for you!
Ready to take the first step? Contact our office today.