5 Tips for Managing Dental Anxiety

Does the thought of making a dental appointment fill you with dread? If so, you’re not alone! Millions of people all around the world experience dental anxiety, with as many as 75% of U.S. adults estimated to experience some level of dental fear. In fact, this is the biggest reason why people avoid regular visits with their dentists! That’s unfortunate since these check-ups are an important part of maintaining healthy teeth and gums. A person with extreme dental phobia may never see a dentist, while others may force themselves to go but struggle with anxiety the whole time. First Class Smiles has put together a list of 5 tips for managing dental anxiety that can take the fear out of going to the dentist!

People who are fearful of dental care often fall into what we call a “cycle of avoidance.” They avoid care until a dental emergency occurs. These often require invasive treatment which only reinforces their existing fear of dentistry. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way! Here at First Class Smiles, Dr. Grandinetti and Dr. Morrison are proud to offer a range of treatment options to patients who experience any level of dental anxiety, including sedation dentistry. Let’s take a closer look at how you can manage dental anxiety and feel less fearful and fully confident in our expert care!

Talk to someone about your fears

It can be helpful to talk to someone about your fears before scheduling a dental appointment or moving forward with treatment. If you have any concerns surrounding your office visit, don’t hesitate to reach out! Our Des Plaines team will do whatever it takes to provide you with a comfortable and stress-free experience. We can also take the time to explain what you can expect at your visit from start to finish to help ease any anxiety that may be caused by uncertainty.

5 Tips for Managing Dental Anxiety

Use a coping mechanism

There are quite a few coping mechanisms to help you manage your dental anxiety. Breathing exercises are a great option to relax your mind and help you feel more at ease. They can also help reduce any stress you may feel. Meditation is another great way to manage dental anxiety. This can help you focus your mind and give you something to focus on during your treatment. 

Many people we see in our Des Plaines office use music or audiobooks to help them relax during appointments and procedures. If the sounds of a dental office trigger your anxiety this will help you tune in to something that brings you a sense of calm. Be sure to mention it to Dr. Grandinetti or Dr. Morrison if you plan on using headphones so we can communicate with you effectively!

Bring a friend

Having a friend or family member tag along to your appointment can give a sense of calm and familiarity. Ask a First Class Smiles team member if you can have someone accompany you to help manage your dental anxiety. Although we are taking extra health and safety precautions, we want you to have a comfortable experience. We’ll make sure everyone takes the proper precautions to keep you and your guest safe and help ease your mind. 

Explore inhalation or oral conscious sedation 

The first step is determining if this type of sedation dentistry is right for you. Dr. Grandinetti and Dr. Morrison will listen to your wants and needs and examine your mouth and medical records to determine if this is right for you. If you suffer from certain medical conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnea or heart complications, you may not be a candidate. If you are a candidate, you’ll need to stay away from foods and non-clear liquids the night before your appointment. Having an empty stomach will decrease your risk of nausea while using sedation. 

If you choose laughing gas (inhalation sedation), the effects will wear off a few minutes after your appointment, so you can drive yourself home and continue your day. If you choose oral sedation, you’ll wake up in our recovery room. This takes a longer period to wear off, so you’ll need someone to drive you home. You’ll need some downtime after oral sedation, so go home and relax once your procedure is complete!

Consider IV sedation

Intravenous sedation is administered directly into your arm or hand by a certified nurse with a small needle. With IV sedation, you will breathe on your own while your vitals are monitored. You’ll remain generally responsive to your dentist’s prompts. However, IV sedation patients won’t feel or remember anything after they wake up from their procedure. IV sedation with a CRNA is more predictable than oral sedation and provides total relief from all anxiety and sensation. 

At First Class Smiles, we typically only use IV sedation for extreme cases of dental anxiety or for procedures that may have a higher level of pain. Just like with oral sedation, you’ll need someone to drive you home if you use this method. They’ll also need to monitor you throughout the day since some of the effects may linger.

5 Tips for Managing Dental Anxiety

We Care About Your Comfort at First Class Smiles

At First Class Smiles, we are trained to be sensitive to dental phobias. Dr. Grandentti, Dr. Morrison, and the entire team will do everything possible to make your experience comfortable on both a physical and emotional level. Our sedation options can help you through your dental appointment with little to no anxiety! You’re truly putting your smile into the best hands when you choose our Des Plaines practice.

Whatever your reason for dental anxiety, First Class Smiles will provide the best experience possible, through compassionate care, excellent communication, and customized treatment options. To find out if you’re a good fit for sedation dentistry, get in touch with us today to schedule a sedation consultation with Dr. Grandinetti and Dr. Morrison!