Don’t Fear the Dentist – How to Manage Dental Anxiety

Strategies for Dental Anxiety

Anxiety and fear about dental procedures is very common and ranges from mild aversion to being completely terrified. Learning to manage your anxiety is an important part of your oral healthcare routine because anxiety can often lead to avoidance. Without preventative care and maintenance from regular check-ups, minor concerns can turn into serious issues that require more invasive procedures to correct. Our North Vancouver dental office is equipped to help mitigate concerns using information management, relaxation techniques, and technology.

The first step in managing your anxiety is to try to identify where your anxiety comes from. Does your fear stem from a bad experience? Are you the type of person who is comforted by understanding processes and details, or do you respond better to a distraction or relaxation technique such as watching TV or listening to music? Speak to your family dentist about what works best for you. Spend some time at the start or your appointment discussing your concerns. You can also plan a signal such as raising your hand to let your dentist to stop or take a break. It typically takes six good experiences to overcome one bad one.

If you are introducing your children to a dental routine, be careful not to pass your own anxiety on to the next generation. If you are nervous, your negative energy will be sensed by others so be careful not to make negative comments. Talk to your children ahead of time about what to expect at their dental appointment. For example, you can tell your children that the dentist will count their teeth, clean them, and make sure they are all healthy. The earlier you can introduce your children to the dentist the better. This will help establish a routine of going to the dentist for cleanings and simple check ups before any issues occur.

If the steps above don’t help to ease your fear, speak to your dentist about technology such as laser tools and dental sedation. Lasers are gentler and cause less swelling and bleeding than traditional instruments. For patients that have high anxiety or a fear of needles, in-office sedation can be used instead of local freezing. For more information, speak to your dentist about treatment options and don’t hesitate to book an appointment!

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