5 ways to deal with dental anxiety

5 ways to deal with dental anxiety

Most of us all know the benefits of going to the dentist at least twice a year, as recommended by the American Dental Association.

Not only do dentists and dental hygienists address problems that arise, they clean your teeth more effectively than you can at home, mainly due to their training and use of high-tech instruments. They can spot cavities and other dental problems much earlier in their development.

Many people perceive going to the dentist as a reasonable solution to dental health as well as dental pain and other issues. Last year, Angie's List members in the New York tri-state area searched for dentists more than 7,700 times. 

However, this is not the case for people who suffer from dental phobia or anxiety.  According to the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, about 30 million to 40 million Americans suffer from a fear of going to the dentist.

Advances in modern dentistry have helped dental visits become far less painful and uncomfortable. However, people who suffer from dental phobia or anxiety should openly talk to their dentist about their concerns. Together, they can talk about intervention that allows them to regularly keep their recommended appointments.

Angie's List member Christopher Chamberlin says his visit with Dr. Eric Veenstra at highly rated Hi-Tech Family Dentistry in Midland Park, N.J. was made all the more comfortable with good communication.

"He took the time to explain everything they were going to do," he says. "He made sure that I was comfortable with the direction we were taking and that everything was explained properly."

If you suffer from a fear of going to the dentist, here are 5 ways to make your visit to the dentist more pleasant:

  1. Bring headphones: For some people, the worst part of going to the dentist is the sound of the drills and other instruments used. Listening to music can help drown out these sounds. 
  2. Bring someone with you: A friend or relative will reassure you that everything is going to be fine. They may help relieve some of the stress that you are experiencing.
  3. Look into sedation dentistry: During sedation dentistry, patients are sedated so that they do not become uncomfortable or experience any pain. It is a good option with more serious cases of dental fear.
  4. Prescription medication: Dentists may also prescribe medication like diazepam to help reduce anxiety for those with more severe forms of dental phobia.
  5. Visualization: Patients can try visualizing themselves in a more pleasant environment while in the dentist’s chair, like watching the sunset on a lake.

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