I am afraid of the dentist. What can I do?

We have many patients with dental anxiety. Being afraid of the dentist is a common issue that many people experience, and there are several things you can do to help ease your fears and make your dental visits more comfortable.

  1. Talk to your Dr. Wheatley: Let us know that you\’re anxious about dental procedures. A good dentist will be sensitive to your concerns and will work with you to make your experience as comfortable as possible.
  2. Bring a friend or family member: Generally, we don’t want the operatories too crowded. And from experience, we know that some support humans cause more anxiety than prevent it. But if having a trusted friend or family member with you during your dental appointment provides you with emotional support and helps distract you from your fears, please let us know.
  3. Use relaxation techniques: Deep breathing, visualization, and muscle relaxation techniques can help you feel more relaxed during dental procedures.
  4. Listen to music or audiobooks: Wearing headphones and listening to calming music or an engaging audiobook can help distract you and make the dental visit more enjoyable. Also, Dr. Wheatley lets you pick your favorite music. Just tell him what you want to listen to.

Dentists can also employ various strategies to help patients with dental anxiety. Here are some of the techniques we believe in: 

  1. Communication: We try to talk to our patients to help them understand what\’s happening during the procedure. This can help to alleviate some of the fear and anxiety by reducing uncertainty.
  2. Relaxation techniques: We can teach patients breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or visualization techniques to help them relax during the procedure.
  3. Consider sedation dentistry: If your fear of the dentist is severe, sedation dentistry may be an option. This can range from mild sedation, such as nitrous oxide, to deeper sedation using intravenous medication. Dr. Wheatley can administer sedatives that will help you feel more relaxed and calm during your dental procedures.
  4. Pre-medication: Dentists may prescribe anti-anxiety medication to be taken before the appointment to help patients relax. Please talk to us if you think this is necessary.

Dental anxiety is real!

Dental anxiety is a psychological condition characterized by fear or apprehension about visiting the dentist or undergoing dental procedures. It is a common phenomenon and affects a significant portion of the population. Some people may experience mild anxiety, while others may have more severe symptoms that can interfere with their ability to receive dental care.

The fear of dental procedures can stem from various factors, such as previous negative experiences with dental care, fear of pain, fear of losing control, fear of needles or instruments, fear of gagging or choking, or fear of being judged by the dentist. People with dental anxiety may avoid dental appointments altogether, leading to untreated dental problems that can worsen over time.

Fortunately, dental anxiety can be managed and treated. Dentists can provide various options to help patients feel more comfortable during dental procedures, such as sedation dentistry, which involves using medication to calm the patient\’s nerves. Other techniques, such as distraction, relaxation, and cognitive-behavioral therapy, may also be helpful in managing dental anxiety.

It\’s important to note that dentists are trained to work with patients who experience dental anxiety, and they understand how to make the experience as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Patients should feel free to discuss their concerns with their dentist and work together to find the best approach for their needs.