Nervousness or legitimate fear of the dentist is completely normal. In fact, an estimated 80 million Americans suffer from it. At my dental office in Saint Louis, we understand a visit to the dentist can be scary. But we also know avoiding professional dental care can have serious health complications. We’re here to help.
Before we dive into to talking about some tips to ease dental anxiety, let’s take a look at what causes this fear. According to a study from North Carolina University, each individual’s overall anxiety level is a great indicator to how they’ll react at a dental visit. The higher the natural anxiety level, the more likely it is to suffer from dental fear. Dental fear may also result from a prior negative experience, worry about being lectured about dental care, or embarrassment.
Easing The Fear
- Talk it Out. One of the most important ways to combat dental fear is to establish trust with your dentist in Saint Louis. Make sure he knows the fear is there and ask him to talk through each procedure in detail and answer any questions. It’s alright to ask how long each treatment may take, what you might feel, about using a signal if you become uncomfortable, and to request breaks.
- Distractions. Lying back in the dental chair with mouth agape and someone’s hands in there can create an uneasy feeling. Try distracting yourself with music, television, or sunglasses. Some practices even provide these amenities for you.
- Take a Deep Breath. Breathing techniques and focused breathing have been proven to lower anxiety levels and ease nervousness. Close your eyes, take deep breaths using your diaphragm (the lower part of your belly), and focus on the air coming in and going out.
- Ask Around. Asking friends and family their opinions on their own dentists can help you find the one that’s right for you. The internet can also provide a wealth of information. Start by visiting the websites of any referred dentists and see how you feel with what they say and how their offices look. Also make sure to read reviews online. You just may find a dentist who helped a friend with similar fears.
We know dental fear is real, we understand how nervous some people may be to get professional dental care, and we’re here to ease those fears. At my Saint Louis dental office, we work with each and every patient to ease any anxieties they may have, and we’re always sure to be gentle, talk through each procedure, and we never lecture. If it’s time to see a dentist who understands, give us a call today.
Welcoming patients from Saint Louis, Lemay, and Oakville.