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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tips to Help You Conquer Your Dental Fears

We touched on this subject earlier this year. But now we have some great new tips in this post.

Is fear of the dentist keeping you from getting the oral health issues in your mouth resolved? Statistics show that about 15% of Americans experience dental anxiety and that it’s a major factor in why people put off having dental work done. If the thought of needles, drills, and probes makes you squirm, or you suffer from dental phobia, a more serious condition that can cause panic and even paralyzing fear – then read on. We’ve got six tips to help you overcome your dental dread and have a more comfortable experience with your dentist.

  1. Meet and greet.  Before you actually make an appointment for a procedure, ask if you can drop by for a tour of the office and to meet the staff.  Becoming familiar with the dentist, assistants and setting can help calm your nerves and set your mind at ease. You can also review Brighter's comprehensive dentist listings here.

  2. Do your homework.  Got a specific procedure in mind? Do some research online.  There are many video diaries, case studies and blogs out there (especially for major treatment options such as implants, crowns, bridges, orthodontics, etc.) The more you know about a procedure and the steps required for completion, the more comfortable and prepared you will feel. And, the less your nerves have to deal with unexpected news.

  3. Read Testimonials. Whether it’s about which dentist to pick or which treatment option to choose, let other patients give you a first person take. It can be reassuring to hear it from the mouth of a peer. Testimonials will give you a more relatable perspective. Brighter dentist profiles include patient testimonials as well.

  4. Listen to a referrer you trust. Ask your family, friends and coworkers how their dentists address anxiety and fear. Find a dentist who is sensitive to dental phobia and takes your concerns seriously.

  5. Schedule a Consultation. Most dentists, upon request, will schedule a no-charge consultation to discuss treatment options with you. Come prepared to this meeting to discuss any worries or questions you have regarding the procedure (this is where “do you homework” comes in to play again.) Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to also bring up your dental anxiety with your provider at this meeting! If he/she knows your concerns, you can work together to find a solution that creates the optimum experience for everyone involved.

  6. Sedation Dentistry. Sedation dentistry sounds more intimidating than it really is. There are several stages of sedation ranging from minimal to deep. The type of sedation you receive is dependent on the procedure type and the preferences you and your dentist discuss beforehand. It is usually as simple as using nitrous oxide (laughing gas) during treatment or taking a mild sedative (such as Xanax) beforehand.

Avoiding the dentist due to fears and anxieties can allow small, easily resolvable issues to develop into problems that require major treatment.  Brighter helps members find a great dentist using our comprehensive online dentist profiles as well as calling our member services team.

Try these strategies and work to overcome your dental phobia and stay on top of your dental health!

What other suggestions do you have that have worked to calm your nerves and put your fears to rest before a visit to the dentist? We would love to hear your suggestions!