5 Tips for Managing Dental Anxiety

Does the thought of making a dental appointment fill you with dread? If so, you’re not alone! Millions of people worldwide experience dental anxiety, with as many as 75% of U.S. adults experiencing some dental fear. This is the biggest reason why people avoid regular visits with their dentists! That’s unfortunate since these check-ups are essential to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. 

A person with extreme dental phobia may never see a dentist, while others may force themselves to go but struggle with anxiety the whole time. Accent Smile Center has put together a list of 5 tips for managing dental anxiety that can take the fear out of going to the dentist!

People fearful of dental care often fall into a cycle of avoidance, meaning they avoid care until they have a dental emergency. These usually require invasive treatment, which only reinforces their existing fear of dentistry. 

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way! Here at Accent Smile Center, Dr. Gatgens is proud to offer a range of treatment options to patients who experience any level of dental anxiety, including sedation dentistry. Let’s take a closer look at how you can manage dental fear and feel fully confident in our expert care!

Talk to someone about your fears

Talking to someone about your fears before scheduling a dental appointment or starting treatment can be helpful. If you have any concerns surrounding your office visit, don’t hesitate to reach out! Our Dickson team will do whatever it takes to provide you with a comfortable and stress-free experience. We’ll also take the time to explain what you can expect from start to finish during your visit to help ease any anxiety that may be caused by uncertainty. 

Use a coping mechanism

There are quite a few coping mechanisms to help manage your dental anxiety. Breathing exercises are a great option to relax your mind and help you feel more at ease. They can also help reduce any stress you may feel. Meditation is another excellent way to manage dental anxiety. This can help you calm your mind and give you something to focus on during your treatment. 

Many people we see in our Dickson office use music or audiobooks to relax during appointments and procedures. If the sounds of a dental office trigger your anxiety, this will help you tune in to something that brings you a sense of peace. Be sure to mention it to Dr. Gatgens if you plan on using headphones so we can communicate with you effectively!

5 Tips for Managing Dental Anxiety

Bring a friend

Having a friend or family member tag along to your appointment can give a sense of calm and familiarity. Ask an Accent Smile Center team member if you can have someone accompany you to help manage your dental anxiety. We want you to have a comfortable experience, so we’ll ensure everyone takes the proper precautions to keep you and your guest safe and help ease your mind. 

Explore inhalation or oral conscious sedation 

The first step is determining if this sedation dentistry is right for you. Dr. Gatgens will listen to your wants and needs and examine your mouth and medical records to determine if this is right for you. You may not be a candidate if you have certain medical conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnea or heart complications. 

If you are a candidate for inhalation or oral conscious sedation, you’ll need to avoid foods and non-clear liquids the night before your appointment. Having an empty stomach will decrease your risk of nausea while using sedation. 

If you choose laughing gas (inhalation sedation), the effects will wear off a few minutes after your appointment, so you can drive home and continue your day. You’ll wake up in our recovery room if you choose oral sedation. This takes longer to wear off, so you’ll need someone to drive you home. You’ll have some downtime after oral sedation, so go home and relax once your procedure is complete!

Consider IV sedation

A certified nurse will administer intravenous sedation directly into your arm or hand with a small needle. With IV sedation, you will breathe on your own while we monitor your vitals. You’ll remain generally responsive to your dentist’s prompts. However, IV sedation patients won’t feel or remember anything after they wake up from their procedure. IV sedation with a CRNA is more predictable than oral sedation and provides total relief from all anxiety and sensation. 

At Accent Smile Center, we typically only use IV sedation for extreme cases of dental anxiety or for procedures that may have a high level of pain. Like with oral sedation, you’ll need someone to drive you home if you use this method. They’ll also need to monitor you throughout the day since some of the effects may linger.

5 Tips for Managing Dental Anxiety

We Care About Your Comfort at Accent Smile Center

At Accent Smile Center, we are trained to be sensitive to dental phobias. Dr. Gatgens and our team will do everything possible to make your experience comfortable physically and emotionally. 

Our sedation options can help you through your dental appointment with little to no anxiety! You’re putting your smile into the best hands when you choose our Dickson practice.

Whatever your reason for dental anxiety, Accent Smile Center will provide the best experience possible through compassionate care, excellent communication, and customized treatment options. To find out if you’re a good fit for sedation dentistry, get in touch with us today to schedule a sedation consultation with Dr. Gatgens!