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Going to the dentist is about as much fun as plucking out your eyelashes one by one. Still, if you want to have good oral health, it’s crucial that you get cleanings regularly — even if you fear the dentist. At the very least, that’s once a year though it may be more frequent based on your dentist’s recommendation.
If you dread going to the dentist’s office, you’re not alone. We assume that patients have anxiety about their visits because having your teeth inspected, scraped, picked at, and drilled is never going to be the best time of your life. Still, we swear these 6 things can at least make the experience less traumatizing.
1. Call ahead to see what de-stressing options are available and appropriate for you.
For instance, if you’re so freaked out about having your teeth handled that you regularly put off or cancel dentist appointments, you may benefit from having some kind of short-acting anti-anxiety medication during your visit, licensed clinical psychologist Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D. says. Being at the dentist can be uncomfortable, and even painful at moments. But being afraid and anxious doesn’t have to be part of it, too.
2. Have your dentist walk you through the steps they’re going to take before they actually take them.
If you’re already freaked about visiting the dentist, having them stick tools in your mouth without you knowing what is happening isn’t going to help. That is why we recommends that you ask your dentist to explain what they’re going to do first. As a patient, you have every right to know what’s being done and why, and if there are options.
3. Make your appointment for the middle of the day when things usually are calmer.
Like every doctor’s office, your dentist’s office will be busier at certain times. The middle of the day, when people have already gone to work and kids are in school, tends to be quieter. That’s when it’s a little more relaxed to be in the office. The less hectic setting may help tame your nerves.
4. Tune out with music as your dentist works.
Listening to music or watching TV can be a great distraction, which is key when all you can think about is having dental tools that look like torture devices in your mouth. As long as your dentist is OK with it, it should be fine to listen to music or to watch TV during your appointment. Nowadays, most people carry their own tunes on the phone. We recommend bringing earbuds instead of a big headset, which can get in the way of your dentist’s work. Noise-cancelling ones can be especially more helpful, as you can imagine.
5. Agree on a signal that both you and your dentist know is a sign you’re in pain or need a breather.
Many people are freaked out at the idea of being unable to communicate during a dental appointment — hello, your mouth is a little busy, here. This is why we recommend having a signal that lets your doctor know that you’re uncomfortable and need to stop. Most patients opt for raising their hand, but it can be anything — just make sure your dentist is on the same page before they start your treatment.
If you’re nervous about bringing this up with your dentist, don’t be. Your dentist likely wants to know when you’re in pain to see if there’s anything they can do about it. Remember: dentists do not get rewarded for hurting people. Their goal is to make people smile.
6. Plan a post-visit reward you can look forward to, especially one that hinges on getting your butt in that dentist’s chair.
Now that you’re a grown-up, your dentist probably isn’t offering you a toy at the end of your appointment. Luckily, you can just treat yourself instead. Anticipation of doing something awesome can make your trip to the dentist much easier.
Planning out a little something nice in advance, like going to a movie or taking a shopping trip, can help you get through the visit. You can even hold yourself accountable with a method like buying a movie ticket online, having it sent to a friend’s email instead of yours, and telling them they can only send it back to you if you go to your dentist’s appointment.
There are a lot of ways to make going to the dentist a bit easier, but there’s one common denominator: a dentist who cares about how you feel and will cooperate with your plan, or even offer their own suggestions based on your situation. If your dentist won’t work with you to make you more comfortable, it’s time to get a new one. Find a dentist who will listen to your concerns and fears. Having a dentist that recognizes you are uneasy is a big help.
Contact Family Care Dental Clinic for your consultation today!
Located in the heart of North Vancouver, BC, Family Care Dental Clinic is a group of passionate dentists and dental experts who are committed to providing patients with exceptional dental care in a modern and relaxing environment. We at Family Care Dental Clinic offer our clients a wide range of comprehensive dental services for the whole family. Call (604) 987-3545 or write us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment with a member of our excellent team!