anxious woman

Salt Lake City Dentist: How to Deal with Dental Anxiety

Avoiding the dentist is more common than you may think. We know that about half of Americans don’t visit the dentist each year, though the number who fear dental visits isn’t well defined. Dentists have always been in the top three most feared things list, though, so if you indefinitely postpone dental appointments, you’re not alone.

Dental fear and anxiety can be more specifically stated as:

  • Fear of injections
  • Fear of pain
  • Fearing loss of control or personal space
  • Wanting to avoid physical pain when sitting in the dental chair or opening your mouth for an extended time
  • Embarrassment about teeth

Many times, dental anxiety stems from a bad dental appointment in the past. On behalf of those dentists, we apologize, and we hope you’ll give another dentist a chance to redeem the caring, empathetic side of our profession. We just want you healthy!

If you’re looking for a dentist in Salt Lake City, consider Dr. Gleave. He and our team are passionate about providing exceptional dental care that caters to your unique needs.

Why You Shouldn’t Avoid the Dentist

Attending dental cleaning and exam appointments every six months is essential to maintaining good oral hygiene. If you don’t attend cleanings, you can develop:

  • Cavities
  • Gum disease
  • Excessive bad breath
  • Receding gums
  • Tooth loss

So, how do you overcome dental anxiety? Our Salt Lake City dentist has a few tips for you!

1. Be picky about your dentist.

If you learned anything from your bad dental experience, it’s probably this—choosing a dentist is important. Maybe your friend, aunt, or coworker recommended the last dentist, but you didn’t do any research on him yourself. Or maybe you just chose the dentist closest to your home or work. It’s also possible that the dentist was just having a bad day.

Whatever the reason, we want to help you avoid another bad dental experience by encouraging you to be picky—do research. Ask questions.

Before you make an appointment, read the dentist’s Google reviews and browse his website (make sure he offers sedation dentistry!). If you like what you see, schedule an initial consultation.

During this appointment, ask questions to learn more about the dentist and take note of how the dental team and environment make you feel.

2. Discuss your concerns.

Make sure to mention to the dental team that you struggle with dental anxiety. Along with sedation dentistry, the dentist may offer other ways to make you comfortable. Our dental team provides a cozy blanket, TV with headphones, Wi-Fi, and a soothing atmosphere to all patients.

You and the dentist or dental hygienist can also create signals to use during treatment to indicate any kind of discomfort.

3. Prepare for your appointment with proper nutrition.

One cup of coffee should be fine, but if you’re feeling anxious, extra caffeine and too much sugar will only make things worse. In place of sugar, try to eat a high-protein meal made up of foods like beans, eggs, chicken, potatoes, Greek yogurt, or cottage cheese. These will actually produce a calming effect, so you feel more relaxed during your appointment.

4. Use mindfulness techniques.

During the appointment, try to relax by using these mindfulness techniques:

  • Deep breathing exercises: Inhale slowly for three counts and then exhale for three counts. Repeat this five times in the waiting room or when possible while in the dental chair.
  • Do a body scan: This involves lots of concentrations to relax each muscle in your body, one body part at a time. Start with your head and end with your toes.

5. Ask about sedation dentistry options.

 Some dentists offer multiple sedation options to help relieve anxiety. The dentist can work with you to determine which option is best for your situation. Our dental sedation options include:

  • Inhaled sedation: calms and wears off quickly
  • Oral sedation: awake but in a sleep state
  • IV sedation: light sleep

Call our Salt Lake City Dentist Today

Our dental team is passionate about providing a comfortable patient experience. Contact our office today at (801) 923-6406 to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Gleave.

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