4 Ways You Can Overcome Dental Anxiety
If fear of the dentist is keeping you from a healthier smile, you’re not alone.
Experts say that as many as one in five adults suffer from anxiety that keeps them away from regular trips to the dentist. At Houston Uptown Dentists in Houston, TX, we want to put you at ease, and we’re willing to go the extra mile to make sure your experience here is a great one.
Read on for ways you can overcome your fear of the dentist, as well as how we can help. If you’re ready to start your journey toward the smile you’ve always wanted, give us a call at (832) 463-1021 to schedule an appointment.
1. Choose a comfortable setting with a patient, understanding dentist.
One of the most common causes of dental anxiety is a negative past experience — perhaps a painful procedure when you were a kid, or a dentist you felt didn’t take the time to listen to your concerns.
At Houston Uptown Dentists, Dr. Juarez and Dr. Lindskog have built a practice with you in mind, and you’ll see it as soon as you walk into our office in the Wells Fargo Tower. Our friendly administrative team will greet you in our cozy waiting room area, where you can help yourself to tea or another beverage before your appointment. Even our examination rooms, which overlook the Uptown Houston skyline, are comfortable and inviting. Before your procedure, we’ll take the time to talk you through the care we’ll provide and answer any questions you may have.
One of the best things about our practice is our team of professionals. Everyone here is committed to providing the most comfortable experience for our patients, and we feel like a family here at Houston Uptown Dentists. We hope you’ll also feel at home here, too.
2. Distract yourself.
At the end of a difficult day, perhaps you unwind by watching your favorite TV show or listening to some music. Both are powerful tools for relaxation that can help you at during your dental appointment.
Our staff would be happy to provide headphones and 3-D movie glasses so you can watch Netflix or listen to music or calming sounds while we work.
3. Try relaxation techniques.
Studies have shown that relaxation techniques can significantly reduce tension and stress ahead of a visit to the dentist. Two of the easiest and most commonly used methods are diaphragmatic breathing and muscle relaxation.
Diaphragmatic breathing involves taking a series of deep breaths, concentrating on use of your diaphragm. This reduces tension in the chest and provides more oxygen to the body. Here’s how you do it:
- Sit up straight.
- Rest one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.
- Exhale until your lungs feel empty.
- Count while inhaling slowly and evenly, until your lungs feel full.
- Exhale evenly and slowly, taking longer than you took to inhale.
This can be paired with muscle relaxation techniques, such as tensing a set of muscles while you inhale and relaxing them when you exhale.
4. Ask about dental sedation.
The use of dental sedation, or the use of medication to help you relax before a dental procedure, is particularly helpful for patients undergoing a more complicated procedure or who simply suffer from intense fear or anxiety.
Though some people call it “sleep dentistry,” the term isn’t entirely accurate because with most forms of dental sedation, you’re awake for the procedure. Dental sedation simply affects how you experience your treatment and, in some cases, what you remember afterward.
At Houston Uptown Dentists, we offer three types of dental sedation to help reduce stress during your treatment and reduce anxiety before future appointments.
- Nitrous Oxide. Sometimes referred to as “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide is a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen that when inhaled through a small mask conjures feelings of joy and euphoria. The effects are felt quickly, but they also wear off shortly after the procedure is over, so you may be able to drive home afterward and resume your normal day.
- Oral conscious sedation. With this form of dental sedation, we’ll prescribe a pill that you’ll take at a predetermined time before your appointment. It’ll make you drowsy — meaning you’ll need to arrange a ride to and from the office.
- IV sedation. This is the strongest form of dental sedation we offer. You’ll experience your procedure in an almost dreamlike state. You’ll remain conscious so we can communicate with you, but you most likely won’t remember anything from your procedure.
If you think sedation dentistry can help you get the dental care you need, give us a call at (832) 463-1021. We can talk you through the options available and determine what would be best for you and your needs.