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Dental Anxiety & Patient Care

If you’re worried about visiting the dentist, it may help to know that you’re not alone. Many people have anxiety about dental visits and this often results in patients finding every excuse in the world to avoid their much needed dental appointments. Fortunately, there are many things that can be done to help make you feel more comfortable.

 

 

The reasons patients might experience dental anxiety are many and varied. No matter the cause, the results of dental phobia & anxiety can be serious, preventing patients from getting the care they need to keep their teeth healthy, which can in turn lead to developing severe oral health complications.

At Little Smiles Family Dental our welcoming team of experienced Dentists & Dental Clinicians understand the genuine phenomenon of dental anxiety & dental phobia.  Our team provide patient-centered, compassionate care to help you stay relaxed, so you can get the care and treatment you need.

So if you’re anxious about an upcoming appointment, here’s a few things you might try to help yourself relax. 

  1. Discuss your concerns with our team

    Trying to hide your anxiety will only make it worse. Instead, be open about your concerns so we can help you work through them. Our team can discuss the treatments necessary ahead of time, so you know what to expect when you arrive and we can plan together for your visit.

  2. Bring along a distraction

    Listening to an audiobook or music through your phone or other device is an excellent way to relax throughout your visit. You might also consider bringing a friend to talk to while you’re in the waiting room or a book of puzzles to keep you focused on something else.

  3. Focus on breathing

    When we are experiencing anxiety or nervousness, we often breathe rapidly or hold our breath. Deep breathing can help your body’s natural relaxation response to kick in, and also gives you something to focus on during your visit. Practice before your appointment by breathing deeply through your nose, in and out. You might also try counting your breaths, just to draw your attention to your breath rather than focusing on the dental procedure.

  4. Skip sugar & caffeine before your appointment

    Sugar and caffeine can both make you extra jittery, increasing your feelings of anxiety. Save your coffee or sugary treat as a post-visit reward instead, and it will help as motivation to get through your appointment too!

  5. Consider using gentle sedative medications to relax

    Some patients with dental anxiety use a mild oral sedative before visiting the dentist to help them relax. You’re always best to discuss any medication with your GP or talk to our team before your appointment.  You’ll also need to make sure you have someone with you to drive you home afterward, as these medicines can leave you feeling a bit dazed and sleepy.

  6. Ask about ‘laughing gas’ or in chair sedation

    ‘Laughing gas’ or Nitrous oxide is a gas commonly used to help with nerves in the dentist chair. When seated in the chair, this gas can be inhaled through your nose to help you relax. Sedation is another option that our team can administer to enable you to nap through more complex procedures, like wisdom tooth extractions.

  7. Don’t skip your dental appointments

    If dental visits make you anxious, it’s probably pretty tempting to skip one here and there. However, by maintaining your regular dentist visits (twice yearly for checkups and cleanings) we can check for problems and catch them in their very early stages, which may even prevent many issues from occurring in the first place. Ultimately, prevention is the best strategy to because that means less time in the dental chair for you!

Don’t let fear keep you from the care you need

Research from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reveals that Australian adults have an average of 4.5 missing teeth and around 61% of people aged 75 or over have moderate or severe periodontitis. Seeing your dentist is critically important for helping you maintain optimal oral health and a beautiful smile.

Want to learn more about combating dental phobias?

Schedule a consultation with one of our dentists today. We have many years of experience in aiding patients in fighting their aversion, and no one should feel embarrassed about having these fears.

To schedule your dental visit at Little Smiles Family Dental in Mona Vale, please call the office to book your appointment, and learn how we can help you put your dental anxiety to rest.