October is a month when many of us find it kind of fun to be scared. We watch scary movies and go to haunted houses and similar attractions. One place you don’t want to feel scared, though, is at your dental appointments. Fear of the dentist not only keeps you from getting the dental care you need, it holds you back from improving your smile with cosmetic and/or restorative treatments.
Fortunately, our team is highly experienced at helping our patients get over their dental fear. With our help, you can become a lot more relaxed during your dental appointments! Here we’re sharing seven suggestions that patients often find helpful. If you have questions about our tips or need to make an appointment, call 972-380-8105.
Share Your Dental Concerns
Please share any concerns with us, as well as any past experiences that have contributed to your fear of the dentist. We’ll use strategies to address these issues. If needles bother you, for example, we can use a topical numbing agent before administering local anesthesia. If you’ve experienced difficulty becoming numb or have sensitive teeth, you can receive dental sedation.
Ask for an Early Morning Appointment
For many people, their fear of the dentist worsens the more they think about it. If you’re one of them, we recommend scheduling an early morning appointment. At our office, you can book appointments as early as 7 a.m. Our office is often quieter early in the morning, which may also help ease your anxiety.
Keep Your Focus on Positive Outcomes
Thinking about the positive results of your procedure can help overcome a fear of the dentist. For example, your teeth will feel clean and look great after a dental cleaning. Plus, you can congratulate yourself for your proactive approach to staying cavity-free – which means you won’t need a dental filling or other restoration.
Beat Your Fear of the Dentist With a Break
While some patients prefer to get their appointments over as soon as possible, others feel less fear of the dentist if they can take a short break. No problem! We’ll agree on a signal, such as a raised hand, that lets us know if and when you’d like to pause for a moment. We’ll even schedule slightly longer appointments for you to accommodate breaks. A longer appointment also gives Dr. Rick Barfield to explain every step of your treatment and answer your questions.
Breathe Deeply and Relax
Many people find it calming to breathe deeply and count each breath. Biology is behind this strategy. Deep breaths lower your heart rate and signal your brain to tell your body to relax. Try practicing deep breathing exercises before your appointment. Another effective strategy for relaxing is concentrating on your muscles, then relaxing different groups one by one.
Lessen Stress With Essential Oils
The use of essential oils can be relaxing. Research backs this up, showing that smelling the oils encourages a biochemical reaction similar to one caused by anti-anxiety medications. Three oils often recommended for stress relief are lavendar, bergamot, and clary sage oil.
Dental Sedation Can Relieve Your Fear of the Dentist
If you still have a fear of the dentist, you can ask to receive dental sedation. Unlike many dental practices, you can choose from three different kinds. We even offer inhaled sedation (laughing gas) free of charge! Dr. Barfield will help you determine which kind of sedation is best suited to your situation. Your options are:
- Inhaled Sedation – Breathe this in through a small mask over your nose, and you almost immediately feel relaxed. Thanks to the way it is administered, we can easily increase or lessen the amount you receive during your treatment. It wears off fast and leaves no lingering grogginess. You’ll be able to drive yourself home from your appointment.
- Oral Sedation – If you have a hard time even getting up the nerve to come to your appointment, we can prescribe a pill that you take beforehand at home. That way you’ll arrive already relaxed. An oral sedative leaves you less aware of your surroundings than laughing gas. Its effects last for several hours, so you’ll need to arrange for a ride home.
- IV Sedation – With this form of sedation, you’ll experience a dreamlike state and probably won’t remember much about your appointment when it’s over. It is administered intravenously, so it’s probably not the right choice if you’re afraid of needles. We often recommend it for patients who are interested in undergoing several procedures in a single visit.
You don’t have to accept your fear of the dentist; we can help you overcome it! Call us today at 972-380-8105.