Does going to the dentist make you feel worried or uncomfortable? You aren’t alone. Dental anxiety affects an estimated 85% of patients. While dental anxiety varies in degree for each patient, it can make keeping up with semi-annual cleaning and check up appointments significantly difficult for the majority of people.

If you suffer from dental anxiety, avoid skipping your dental appointments. This tactic can lead to poor dental health, and can sometimes increase anxiety when an emergency appointment is warranted. Instead, talk with your dentist about your worries and ask plenty of questions to make you feel more comfortable. Here are a few questions to ask to get the conversation started.

How do you help people with dental anxiety?

Start with talking to your dentist about what the office staff does to create a culture of comfort for those patients who have dental anxiety. If your dentist is able to give specific information about how they can help you feel more comfortable, it means your dentist is already devoted to decreasing anxiety.

Can I bring headphones or sunglasses?

A majority of dental anxiety comes from the intimacy of a dental exam. The sounds and the “up close and personal” views can make for an overstimulating experience. Ask your dentist if you can bring in your own headphones so that you can listen to your favorite podcast or relaxing music while going through the exam. Sunglasses can also help with the bright lights above your chair.

Is nitrous oxide an option?

Most dentists now keep nitrous oxide available for patients to decrease anxiety and increase comfort. Nitrous oxide can have a relaxing effect for patients but does not keep patients from safely driving home. Ask if this is an option for you and if you can use it for procedures and/or cleanings.

Can we split this up into more than one appointment?

If your anxiety is especially high, you can ask your dentist if there is an option to split your experience up into multiple appointments. For example, can you do a cleaning on Tuesday and the x-rays on Thursday? Or, can you meet with your dentist about your cavity on Wednesday and do the procedure on Thursday? Multiple appointments can give you the chance to take a break and gain energy for the next time.

At East Erie Dental, we want all of our patients to feel as comfortable as possible when working with us. If you are feeling worried about your dental health or next appointment, let’s talk about it. Together, we can work to keep you healthy and comfortable.

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