Like many people going to the dentist is not a pleasant experience. For me when I was a kid and my visits I was not offered any kind of pain-numbing before procedures. In fact, when I was a kid and visiting the dentist it usually meant just pulling a tooth rather than trying to save the tooth. Of course, that was 60 years ago and times have changed and there are so many more options as a patient. They didn’t even offer nitrous oxide to calm a patient or give local anesthetic.
There are three ways you can stop the fear when going to the dentist:
- Speak up, when you make an appointment let them know that you are nervous about having dental work done. Dont be afraid to ask questions, sometimes knowing the procedures helps to calm you. During your time in the chair, let them know if you need a break, agree on a signal. Let the dentist know that even with a local anesthetic that you are still experiencing pain, not everyone can tolerate pain with a local anesthetic.
- Distract yourself by using headphones, bring your own to listen to music, many times they offer them or even TV’s are mounted in their office. I’ve read that even keeping your hands busy by using a handheld or a fidget spinner helps.
- Using mindful techniques like deep breathing even before going into the treatment room and throughout the visit will help to calm you, especially when they are drilling I have to use this technique to get me through. Then you can also use relaxation techniques by concentrating on parts of your body, starting at the top of your head down to your toes. It is amazing how this works for me or in an uncomfortable situation at the doctor’s office or procedure. Here is more on coping skills from dental fears from the Journal of the American Dental Association, you can print to refer back to share with family and friends.
8 Reasons why you would visit a dentist:
•One of the first would be evident, a toothache that will not go away
•Stained or discolored teeth
•Bleeding or sore gums anywhere in your mouth
Types of mouth sores include canker sores, cold sores, leukoplakia and candidiasis
Bad breath or dry mouth
Types of injuries to your jaw, arthritis, teeth grinding, TMJ
•Dry Mouth, Salvia deters tooth decay and washes away food particles
Your dentist can recommend a mouthwash
Can cause a huge amount of bacteria leading to infections
•Cracked or broken teeth
Due to brittle teeth, teeth grinding or injury
If you are sensitive to cold or hot beverages
A result in worn teeth, tooth decay or worn enamel
Here is an example of what to should experience when you visit a dental office after you set up an appointment you should receive;
Of course, the dentist would know why you are there if it is as mentioned above an emergency. But if you are visiting a new dentist you would typically receive a full mouth set of digital x-rays will be taken. Along with this, they will also do complete and thorough oral cancer screening, TMJ evaluation, measure your gums to check for gum disease, and examine your teeth for cavities, wear & fractures. After a personal assessment and it is determined if there is no gum disease you would receive a mouth and teeth cleaning.
It is recommended that you visit a dentist twice a year for check-ups. By doing this your dentist can resolve issues, small cavities, and repairs, check gums for disease and overall health of your mouth and teeth. It not only helps with maintaining healthy teeth is less costly for you.
Going forward there are options that you and your dentist can discuss like teeth whitening, plaque removal and even a discussion with your dentist on dietary guidelines. It is ultimately important to impress on kids about habits of choosing healthy foods over snacks that are sticky that promote dental decay
• Dentists recommend brushing teeth twice a day and replacing your brush twice a year with a soft bristle brush
• Flossing is one of the most important to remove bacteria and plaque buildup on teeth including brushing, before your next visit to your dentist. If you cannot brush your teeth after a meal, it has been suggested that rinsing is the next best thing.
How many dentists have you been to, in our lifetime?
Have you always had a good experience with your dentist?