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If you suffer from dental anxiety or a fear of the dental clinic, you’re certainly not alone. Dental anxiety is a common condition characterized by feelings of nervousness and fear surrounding a dental appointment or dentistry in general. These feelings can range from mild to severe.

However, no matter how intense your dental anxiety may be, you can still overcome your fears by taking the right steps and applying the appropriate techniques and strategies.

In this article, we will explore several effective ways to alleviate dental anxiety so that you can enjoy a much more relaxing and stress-free experience at the dentist’s office.

Find a Compassionate, Trustworthy Dentist

Finding a dentist you trust and feel most comfortable with is critical to overcoming dental anxiety. Your dentist should be understanding, compassionate, and experienced when it comes to dealing with patients suffering from dental anxiety. They will ideally specialize in dental sedation like our doctors at Downtown Sleep Dentistry & Oral Surgery

The right dentist will be happy to listen to your concerns and work with you to create a pleasant and relaxing care experience completely free of judgment.

Consider Sedation Dentistry (a Specialty at Downtown Sleep Dentistry & Oral Surgery)

For many people suffering from dental anxiety, sedation may be necessary to help them get through their treatment. Fortunately, there are several varying levels of dental sedation available to best suit a patient’s needs, including the following:

  • Nitrous oxide sedation (laughing gas)

    Also known as laughing or happy gas, nitrous oxide is an excellent option for patients requiring a mild form of sedation for their treatment. With this method, the patient wears a mask over their nose and mouth, receiving a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide. This helps create a more relaxing and pleasant experience for the patient and will commonly lead to giggles or a mildly euphoric sensation. The effects of nitrous oxide wears off soon after the mask is removed.

  • Oral sedation

    Another milder form of sedation, oral sedation requires the patient to take a sedative in pill form (usually triazolam, under the name Halcion®) that is prescribed by the dentist or doctor.

    This is typically a small single dose that should be taken one hour before the patient’s scheduled dental appointment. With this type of sedation, the patient must be driven home by a trusted adult after their appointment.

  • Conscious (IV or twilight) sedation

    Conscious or intravenous (IV) sedation is to be performed by a dental anesthesiologist and involves the delivery of medication via a drip placed into the patient’s vein.

    With this level of sedation, you will feel deeply relaxed, often drifting off into a light sleep. You will still be capable of responding to verbal prompts. However, you will require a ride home after your procedure, as you cannot drive.

  • General anaesthesia

    General anesthesia is the deepest form of dental sedation available and is typically used for the most anxious of patients who need to be fully asleep or unconscious for their treatment.
    As is the case with oral and conscious IV sedation, patients receiving general anesthesia will need another person to drive them home after their procedure.

Bring a Companion to Your Appointment for Support

Bringing a friend or a family member to your dental appointment can give you a greater sense of calm and will help further put your anxious mind at ease.

It can be very comforting to have a trusted and familiar face by your side to offer emotional support, encouragement, and even a source of distraction from any unpleasant feelings you may be dealing with.

Use Relaxation and Distraction Techniques

Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises and mindfulness meditation can be very effective in helping to reduce dental anxiety. You can perform these exercises at any time, including before and during your scheduled dental appointment, as a simple and convenient way to calm your mind and bring you back to the present moment. 

Ideally, you should practice these techniques regularly so that they become more familiar and second nature.

On the other hand, distraction techniques (such as watching a movie or listening to music during your appointment) can also be very effective in helping you to relax by taking your mind off of the procedure.

Ultimately, anyone can overcome their dental anxiety when they take the proper steps to combat their fears.

By choosing a compassionate and experienced dentist who understands your concerns and applying the right anxiety management techniques and strategies, you can enjoy a more relaxing dental care experience and receive the treatments you need for a healthy smile.

Visit Downtown Sleep Dentistry and Oral Surgery Today

To learn about our dental services and sedation options, or to schedule an appointment with our dental care and sedation dentistry specialists in Hamilton, call Downtown Sleep Dentistry and Oral Surgery at 289-272-8696 or contact us here.