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7 Ways to Get Over Your Fear of the Dentist

Posted on October 26th, 2019

You may encounter some pretty frightening creatures this month. Which one scares you the most? Ghost? Goblin? Zombie? We hope it’s not a dentist. We know it may be, though, since millions of people avoid seeking dental care because of a fear of the dentist.

If fear keeps you from seeing us for routine dental care like cleanings and exams, you risk your small dental problems becoming larger and requiring more extensive treatment. We can fix a small cavity with a simple filling, but larger cavities will require a crown. Left untreated, they can cause an infection that will lead to a root canal.

Fortunately, our team can help you overcome your fear of the dentist. We’re happy to discuss anti-stress strategies with you. Give us a call at (770) 635-5336 or drop by our Marietta office for a no-pressure visit. We’re also sharing seven tips that many patients find help ease their anxiety.

Enlist a Trusted Friend or Family Member

You may find it easier to relax if a friend or family member accompanies you to your appointment. Just make sure your pal doesn’t also suffer from dental anxiety. Bringing a friend along is fine any time, but it’s essential if you opt to receive some forms of dental sedation.

Tell Us About Your Fear of the Dentist

It’s helpful if you share all of your concerns with us, as well as any past experiences that contributed to your fear of the dentist. This can help us develop strategies that can help. For instance, if needles make you nervous, we can use The Wand, an instrument that allows us to administer local anesthesia with no needle stick. If you’ve experienced difficulties becoming numb, you can receive dental sedation.

Sniff Your Way to a Less Stressful Visit

You may have heard about the use of essential oils for relaxation. There seems to be science behind it. Research shows your body reacts to certain oils with a biochemical reaction similar to one caused by anti-anxiety medications. Lavender is one that affects the part of your brain that is connected to emotional response and memories and calms the nervous system.

Focus on Positive Outcomes Instead of Your Fear of the Dentist

It helps to focus on the positive outcomes of your procedure instead of your fear of the dentist. With a dental cleaning, you can think about how clean and fresh your mouth will feel and how nice your teeth will look. You can also pat yourself on the back for proactively fighting cavities.

Let Us Know When You Need a Break

Some people welcome a brief break or two during treatment. We can offer you a longer appointment time to allow for this, if requested. Before your treatment starts we’ll agree on a signal, such as a raised hand, that lets us know if and when you need a break. A longer appointment also allows us to explain your treatment and answer all of your questions. Many patients feel less fear of the dentist if they know exactly what will happen.

Relax With Deep Breathing Exercises

Another way to stay calm is to breathe deeply and count each breath. Doing so lowers your heart rate and reduces tension. It also signals your brain to tell your body to relax. You can practice deep breathing before your appointment. During your appointment we suggest concentrating on all of the muscles in your body, then relaxing different groups one by one.

Use Sedation to Relieve Your Fear of the Dentist

We offer three forms of dental sedation, which ensures you’ll be able to receive the one that is best suited to your level of anxiety and the treatment you’ll receive. You can choose:

  • Laughing Gas – Inhaled through a small mask worn over your nose, you’ll feel relaxed within a few minutes. It wears off fast too and doesn’t leave you groggy, so you can even drive yourself home.
  • Oral Sedative – A prescription pill offers a deeper level of relaxation than laughing gas. Its effects last for several hours, so you will need a friend to drive you home.
  • IV Sedation – Not many general dentists offer IV sedation. We not only offer it, but administer it in a specially designed surgical sedation suite that features a dedicated restroom, complete privacy, and an outside exit. IV sedation works especially well for extreme anxiety and enables you to remain relaxed throughout a lengthy procedure or multiple ones. Since it is administered intravenously, it’s probably not the best choice if you don’t like needles.

Ready to get over your fear of the dentist? Let us help! Call (770) 635-5336 today.