Tips for Reducing Fear or Anxiety about Dental Treatment

If you are nervous or fearful about dental treatment, you are not alone. Approximately 9 to 15 percent of Americans avoid seeing the dentist out of fear or anxiety, according to the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine.

At Pacific Northwest Periodontics, we take dental anxiety and dental phobia very seriously. We understand that the idea of visiting the dentist may make you feel nervous or anxious. But we believe these feelings do not have to stand in the way of getting the dental care you need. We offer a variety of solutions to help you overcome your fears or anxieties and enjoy a healthy smile for life.

Select the Right Provider

If you have fears or anxiety about visiting the dentist, you should find a provider who is empathetic, patient and has great listening skills. Sharing your feelings with your dentist and having them acknowledged and validated can help you feel more comfortable about treatment.

Read through patient reviews or ask your friends or family for recommendations for dentists. If you find a provider that seems like a good fit, you might want to schedule an exam or a consult first to establish a rapport before booking extensive treatment.

Explore Your Sedation Dentistry Options

Sedation dentistry is an incredible tool to help you get the care you need in a relaxing and comfortable way. At our practice, we offer sedation solutions for every level of anxiety, including local anesthetic, oral sedation, nitrous oxide sedation and IV sedation. With sedation dentistry, you will feel relaxed and calm throughout your visit, and depending on the sedation method, you may have no recollection of the appointment after it is over.

Distract Yourself

Another way to cope with your anxieties or fears is to distract yourself from the noises, smells and sensations of dental treatment. Listen to music, an audiobook or a podcast through a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Watch your favorite television show or a movie on an iPad. Bring a friend or family member to your appointment for moral support.

Plan Ahead

Schedule your appointment during a time when you are less likely to feel rushed or stressed. Depending on your schedule, that could be an early morning or lunchtime appointment. On the day of your appointment, avoid caffeine and sugary foods, which can make you jittery.

Once you are in the exam room, establish some hand cues with the dental team (i.e., raising your hand) to indicate you would like to take a break. This will help you feel more in control of the experience.

For more information about overcoming fears or anxiety about dental treatment, please call 206-575-1086 or email Pacific Northwest Periodontics today.