Do you ever have trouble sleeping before a dental appointment? Are you looking for new ways to address dental anxiety or dentophobia?
Estimates vary, but at least 20% of all American adults have an aversion to dental appointments. Their discomfort could stem from traumatic experiences or the sound of dental machinery. It could even be linked to fear of anticipated pain.
What’s the solution? Some patients avoid going to the dentist for years or even decades at a time, but there have to be better options than avoidance. For some innovative answers, keep reading.
Dental anxiety can manifest in several ways. Sleepless nights, panic attacks, and nausea are common, along with feelings of embarrassment.
The way to overcome anxiety is to attack it frequently but in small doses. Here are a few ways to put anxiety in its place.
Meditation has a great reputation as a healing modality. It helps prevent loss of gray matter in the brain and reduces levels of cortisol , the hormone that governs stress.
There are dozens of breathing patterns to choose from, but beginners can simply breathe in through their noses and out through their mouths. Breathe in for two counts, then breathe out for two counts.
Patients can also practice creative visualizations at home– thinking about the dentist and then using meditation to calm down the panic response. This is a powerful exercise that can impact even longstanding aversions to medical or dental visits.
Sometimes a little support makes a huge difference. Treat dental anxiety by bringing a family member or friend to appointments. Hand holding is optional but encouraged.
Patients who undergo dental sedations should especially bring a friend who can drive them back home. The two most common types of sedation are nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation, both of which can make patients drowsy.
Whether it’s having a driver, a friend in the waiting room, or a friend holding your hand, you’ll feel calmer knowing that you have a support system.
Another approach to overcoming dental anxiety is to wear headphones. As long as the music or headphones don’t interfere with the dentist’s work, playing music is a great way to generate a sense of calm. Some dentists even offer headphones or earplugs to their patients!
If headphones aren’t an option, patients should invest in a good set of earplugs. This will cut the noise from dental machinery and allow patients to hear the sound of their own breathing.
It’s important to keep going in the quest to eradicate dental anxiety. If none of the above options work, patients should talk to their dentists about sedation options. While sedation is covered by some insurance plans, patients may need to pay for the service out of pocket.
Are you ready to take the first step in conquering your dental anxiety? Dr. Abey Lee at Smiles for Grant Park is happy to offer a wide range of dental treatments, along with two sedation options.
Call us today at (404) 328-7177 to schedule your initial consultation and discuss your treatment options.