Dental anxiety is extremely common. Some people experience a mild nervous feeling, while others have outright terror that reaches the level of a phobia. If your anxiety is severe, you might even go out of your way to avoid critical dental work. Fortunately, many dentists today are aware of dental anxiety and take proactive steps to help patients feel less afraid. Here are 4 soothing tactics your dentist might use.
Calming Office Space
Dentists are increasingly aware of how the look and feel of their office can affect patient anxiety levels. When visiting a new dentist, take a moment to look around the reception and waiting areas. Is the lighting scheme calming? Is the furniture warm and inviting? Is there space for each patient to speak privately with the receptionist? Some dentists go even further, borrowing ideas from high-end spas to create a soothing oasis. Even if yours doesn’t quite go that far, a calming office space is a good sign that the dentist is dedicated to reducing patient fears.
While most dentists today allow patients to bring earbuds and listen to their own music during treatment, many offices provide sensory aids to help soothe their nervous patients. Relaxing music, chairside movies, warm blankets, and heated face cloths are just a few ways that dentists attempt to make the treatment room as relaxing as possible.
Each patient is different, so communication is absolutely essential. Choose a practice in which staff members are aware of the signs of dental anxiety and know how to communicate with anxious patients. The receptionist might let you know what to expect. The hygienist might offer you a blanket or show you how to operate the remote control. The dentist should take a few minutes to sit with you and discuss your fear, and provide some suggestions for helping you feel more in control. For example, he or she might ask if you would feel more comfortable with the chair in a position other than flat, or suggest a hand signal for you to give if you need a break.
Many dental offices now offer sedation dentistry, which can be a real game changer if your anxiety is severe. From mild nitrous oxide to deep IV sedation, there are several options to keep you calm and comfortable. Talk to your dentist about your choices, including the pros and cons, risks, and any activity restrictions that may be required with a specific type of sedation.
Dental anxiety can range from mild to severe. If you have a serious dental phobia, you might need to consider seeking help from a mental health professional. For many people, though, soothing tactics and sedation dentistry can help manage the fear and turn a visit to the dentist into a comfortable and relaxed experience.
Want to Learn More?
If you want to learn more about how we can keep your entire family’s smiles in tip top shape, contact Savannah Dental Solutions today at (912) 354-1366 for more information or to schedule an appointment.