If you suffer from dental anxiety, you are not alone. In fact, so many people suffer from a fear of the dentist that this fear actually has a scientific name – odontophobia. Some studies suggest that half of all Americans avoid making visiting their dentist due to fear, and that’s a shame, because good dental health can improve the health of your entire body. If you are one of the millions fearful of dental care, our team of friendly Jupiter dentists have a few tips to ease your fears.
1. Get To Know Your Jupiter Dentist
Many people fear their dentist as much as they fear dental procedures. People worry that the dentist will scold them for waiting so long between visits or scold them for not taking care of their teeth. While there probably are a few stern dentists out there, at our office, our goal is always to make your dental experiences as positive as possible. Finding a competent dentist is crucial, but you also should select a dentist that makes you feel comfortable as this can reduce your dental anxiety.
In most cases, your first visit to a new dentist will include an exam and possibly a consultation, if any dental work is needed beyond cleaning. During your first visit, you can determine if this dentist is a good fit for you. Be sure to let your dentist know that you are afraid of dental work. If you feel uncomfortable or the dentist doesn’t take your concerns and worries seriously, simply consider making an appointment with another dentist. When you find a Jupiter dentist (and dental clinic staff) that makes you feel comfortable, this will go a long way to alleviating your fears.
2. Understand The Procedure
Many times we are afraid of dental care, not just because we fear pain, but also because we don’t fully understand the procedure. If you are being treated for periodontal disease or scheduled for a root canal be sure you understand what will be doing to treat this issue. Sometimes just understanding the procedure can be helpful, rather than simply walking in for the appointment with no idea what will be happening. Obtaining knowledge can help reduce your dental anxiety.
Keep in mind, most dental procedures do not hurt. There might be a second or two of very slight discomfort when your Jupiter dentist provides you with numbing medication, but the rest of the procedure should be completely pain-free. We should add, however, that Dr. Lein is well-known for providing pain-free care and his “magic” injection technique. While there might be some soreness after a dental procedure, this is usually mild and alleviated with over-the-counter medicines.
3. Consider Your Sedation Options
Sedation is not necessary for many procedures, and there are several different types or levels of sedation. With some patients, a simple injection of numbing medication is all that is needed for a procedure. For more intricate procedures, we consider sedation, and this also can be an option for our patients suffering from severe dental anxiety. One option might be to use nitrous oxide, known as laughing gas, to help you relax. This wears off very quickly, making it a very minimal type of sedation.
In some cases, we can use oral sedation medications, which can help you relax and also will make you feel a bit drowsy. For other situations or procedures, we will use intravenous sedation, which sends sedative drugs directly into your veins. There are different “levels” of intravenous sedation, for some you are just barely awake and for others you are completely unconscious. If you suffer from dental anxiety, talk to your Jupiter dentist, and discuss whether or not some type of sedation might be right for you.
4. Let Music Soothe
Music can be a great tool for relaxation, so if you suffer from dental anxiety, feel free to bring along some headphones and your phone or MP3 player to our Jupiter dentist office. Many studies have shown that listening to music soothes and relaxes, and we find that this can be a big help to some of our patients. A few of our patients also will download an audiobook or podcast and listen to that during dental procedures or cleanings, and this helps them relax, as well. The soothing music or audiobook also will drown out the sounds of dental instruments, a sound which does cause some patients anxiety.
5. Bring A Friend
If you have a good, supportive friend or family member, bring them along with you. Just having someone sit with you in the waiting room and knowing that they are in the office, can help to alleviate fears. Obviously, if you are having a procedure that includes sedation, you will need to have someone take you home, but even for simpler procedures, it can be nice to have a good friend along, one who understands your fears.
6. Practice Excellent Oral Hygiene
One of the best ways to avoid dental anxiety is to simply take excellent care of your teeth. Brushing and flossing twice daily and avoid sugary or starchy foods as much as possible can prevent tooth decay and gum disease and alleviate the necessity for procedures such as root canal therapy, fillings, tooth extractions and root scaling. Additionally, visit your Jupiter dentist at least twice yearly for an exam and cleaning.
A general dental check-up is definitely not something to fear. During a regular exam, we will look at each tooth thoroughly and perhaps complete some x-rays, but there is absolutely no pain involved. If you take excellent care of your teeth, those dental cleanings also will be much more comfortable as there simply won’t be as much plaque and tartar to remove. It also is worth mentioning that practicing good oral hygiene and twice-yearly dental visits are far more affordable than having to pay for costly procedures.
It also bears pointing out that if you currently suffer from dental pain, this pain is far worse than any discomfort you will feel in our office. We do everything we can to make your visit easy and pleasant and pain-free. If you are suffering from tooth pain, please call us today and let’s get you back on the road to excellent dental health. Don’t let your dental anxiety keep you from scheduling an important visit with your Jupiter dentist.