6 Tips For Managing and Overcoming Dental Anxiety

As a periodontal and dental implant practice in Dallas, we understand that many people experience anxiety when faced with the need for any kind of professional dental or oral healthcare. From routine cleanings to more invasive procedures, simply the idea of hands and tools poking and prodding around in your mouth can cause any level of concern (from hesitation to panic). First we simply want to acknowledge that anxiety related to dental care is very real and is perhaps more normal than not. And secondly, we want to offer some helpful tips for managing and overcoming dental anxiety.

Why? Because your oral health is a critical component to your overall health and wellbeing.

Patient with Dental Anxiety

6 Tips for Managing and Overcoming Dental Anxiety

#1: Acknowledge your fears.

As with many things, acknowledging your feelings regarding professional dental and oral healthcare is necessary in order to address it in a healthy manner. Be honest with yourself. Ask yourself: “Which part of my upcoming appointment or procedure is causing the anxiety?” Is it the idea of keeping your mouth open for extended periods of time? The fear of pain? The sound of the tools used? Is it that you don’t feel confident in your provider or the treatment plan? Being honest about your anxiety and then connecting your anxiety to something specific is a helpful first step.

#2: Talk with your provider about your anxiety.

Dr. Charles Orth and our team want nothing more than for your to have an exceptional experience for every procedure and treatment. Please talk with us (or any other dental or oral healthcare provider you may see) about your concerns. When you schedule your appointment, let our scheduling coordinator know about your fears. When you begin your appointment or consultation, share your questions, anxieties and concerns with Dr. Orth or your hygienist.

#3: Become familiar with your surroundings.

Sometimes anxiety is caused by lack of familiarity. During your appointment, ask your provider about the different tools or treatments that will be used during your procedure. Ask about the technology. If the tray of tools causes concern or the sounds they make, ask which tools will be used for your procedure, what the names of the tools are, and why they are necessary. Understanding what is around you and also the competency of your provider with those tools may help the entire experience to seem less intimidating.

#4: Bring someone with you.

Especially if you are undergoing a procedure that includes sedation dentistry (because this is usually required anyway). But even if it is a routine cleaning that causes anxiety, having a trusted companion (even if they have to wait in the car due to social distancing concerns) present can help you feel more comfortable and at ease.

#5: Practice good dental hygiene.

Practicing good dental and oral hygiene in between visits can give you greater confidence and awareness about your oral health…which creates a more positive atmosphere when arriving at your dental or oral healthcare providers office. Brush and floss twice daily. Use mouthwash. Avoid tobacco. Swish or rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking sugary or acidic foods or drinks. Sometimes dental anxiety can be caused by a feeling of failure in your oral health hygiene. You can eliminate that fear by starting new, healthy habits today. Not sure if you’re oral and dental hygiene habits are what they should be? Call us or talk with your provider at your next appointment so that you feel confident and empowered in your daily routine.

#6: Know that you are in control.

Ultimately your dental or oral healthcare visit is YOURS. You may feel like you are at the mercy of the dentist or the hygienist or the surgeon, but the reality is that you are in control of your healthcare and your experience. Our team is trained to explain to you how you can signal to us at anytime if you are feeling discomfort or uneasy. Good healthcare providers will respond immediately to your concerns.

Of course there is no magic wand that can be waved in order to eliminate all fear and anxiety associated with dental and oral healthcare. If you are experiencing anxiety regarding any aspect of your upcoming appointment or procedure at our Dallas periodontal and dental implant practice, please let us know. And if you are living with dental or periodontal pain and discomfort because of your fear of dental procedures, please call our office. Dr. Orth and our team will be happy to do everything we can to alleviate your concerns and make your experience as comfortable as possible. Your health is worth it!

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