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How to Deal with Dental Anxiety

By Patrick Casey on December 05, 2011

If your hands shake and your pulse races at the mere thought of setting foot in a dental office, you can count yourself among the estimated 30 to 40 million Americans who suffer from dental anxiety. The good news is that you can learn to deal with your fear of visiting the dentist so that you can finally get the dental care you need.

The team at our Montreal cosmetic dentistry practice has listed our top tips for coping with your dental phobia:

Tip #1: Find the Right Dentist for You

It's important to find a dentist who you feel comfortable around and who you are able to speak with about your anxiety issues. If your dentist isn't willing to work with you to or accommodate your needs, find one who will.

When you do find the right dentist, reserve the first appointment for getting to know him or her. Speak with the dentist about your dental anxiety, meet the staff, and become familiar with the office. The more familiar you are with your surroundings, the more comfortable you'll feel when you come in for treatment. Our are qualified to perform various types of dental treatments, and we will make every effort to help you feel comfortable during your appointment.

Tip #2: Take Your Mind off the Treatment

During dental visits, try these techniques to focus your mind on something other than the work that's being done.

  • Relaxation and Meditation- Deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation can help you relax and keep your mind focused away from your anxiety.
  • Distraction- Listen to music or watch movies or television to help keep your mind distracted. Many dental practices offer DVD headsets and other amenities to take your mind off of treatment.

Tip #3: Try Sedation Dentistry

Some dentists offer sedation dentistry options that can help their patients relax throughout their dental procedures, and some methods have an amnesia-like effect so that you leave the dentist's office with little or no memory of the sights, smells, and sounds of your visit. Sedation methods include inhaled nitrous oxide gas (laughing gas), oral sedative medications, and intravenously (IV) administered medications, which allow you to remain conscious during treatments yet in a state of complete relaxation. Certain dentists and oral surgeons also offer general anesthesia, which renders a patient unconscious and completely unaware of his or her surroundings. Our Montreal sedation dentistry experts will choose the technique that is appropriate for your anxiety level and the type of treatment that you are undergoing.

Tip #4: Be in Control of Your Dental Care

Loss of control is a major part of dental anxiety for many people, but there are things you can do to be more in control of your dental care. Learn everything you can about a procedure you are considering before visiting the dentist so that you won't be surprised by what it entails. You can research dental topics online, or you can ask your dentist to explain the steps involved before you undergo a procedure.

You may also feel more in control by asking your dentist to warn you before he or she does anything that might be uncomfortable or painful, such as giving an injection, and by establishing a signal for when you need the work to be stopped to take a break.

Tip #5: Know When to Seek Professional Help

For some people, their dental fear is more than they can handle by themselves. If you experience debilitating fear when faced with a trip to the dentist, it may be a true dental phobia, which is best treated by a mental health professional.

Contact Smile Montreal today to schedule your dental appointment with us.

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I felt more like I was talking to a friend than I was to a dentist. Nancy Lanzolla, Former Patient

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Westmount Office

4695 Rue Sherbrooke O
Westmount, QC H3Z 1G2

Open Today 7:00am - 3:00pm

More Info Directions (514) 937-6558