For some, the biggest obstacle in going to the dentist is not going to the dentist, or waiting too long to do so. In other words, the longer one goes without having regular check ups, cleanings and procedures, the harder it becomes to make that initial visit. That kind of a cycle is hard to break. At our office, we cater to patients that need extra attention, care and encouragement; we want our patients to not only feel well attended to, but to feel that they can move forward with quality dental treatment regardless of their prior habits and history.
Fortunately, modern dental procedures and chair side assistance can eliminate fear and lower anxiety in almost every patient, regardless of whether they are a child or an adult. We recommend several things that a patient can do, or to ask for, which can make things go more smoothly.
Communicate Your Anxious Feelings
To begin with, inform your dental team about your anxiety. Depending on your medical condition, different satisfactory solutions can be found. Many patients find that being given the time to express themselves can immediately relax them. Their fear is recognized and steps can be incorporated to meet them where they are. Our staff is trained to do whatever it takes to help reluctant or fearful patients stay calm. We ask our patients to indicate how they are doing during a procedure, or to acknowledge when they need to take a break. By providing information as we proceed, we do our best to let them know what we are doing and how they are progressing. Some want to just “get in the zone.” To these patients, we provide earphone music and dark sunglasses. A lightweight blanket can also bring some added security and comfort. www.ourprescottdentist.com
Another helpful thing to do if you are anxious about treatment is to breathe. Sometimes when we are nervous about something we tend to hold our breath. This will make us tense up even more. A few deep breathes followed by normal breathing will help keep you get and stay relaxed.
When is Sedation Necessary?
Although this is not the only recommendation, some anxious patients are good candidates for conscious sedation, with either oral medication or nitrous oxide (“laughing” gas). This helps a person’s anxiety decrease, so that the local anesthetic (“novocaine”) works better, as well as longer, which allows us to complete the procedure with the most comfort possible. The benefit of nitrous oxide is that the effect wears off immediately. The patient can drive to and from the appointment, whereas with available oral medication, the patient needs to arrange for transportation.
My best advice to any patient is this: Come to see me before you are in pain. Let’s look at your unique situation and come up with a treatment plan that will bring you many years of a healthy, happy smile.
Whether you are comfortable, or highly anxious about dental procedures, we care for your dental needs in a professional and empathetic environment. Please call to schedule an appointment today to give us the opportunity to serve you.