Overcome Dental Anxiety During a Pandemic
During COVID-19 it is common for anxiety levels to be higher than usual. This can intensify the dental anxiety that patients experience when visiting the dentist. Since it is important to keep up with regular hygiene visits it is important that patients find ways to overcome their anxiety.
What is Dental Anxiety?
Dental anxiety is fear and stress related to a dental setting. This is a common condition that equipment, drills, or being in the dental office can trigger. Many dental offices are equipped to work with patients to ease dental anxiety during their visit. When experiencing dental anxiety, it is important to know that the staff wants to support their patients and help reduce the anxiety.
Tips to help with dental anxiety from start to finish:
Communicate early and often with the staff. It is important to tell the dentist early on about your fears so they can work with you through the entire process. When calling to make the appointment, let the office know about any dental anxiety or past experiences – this will be helpful for the entire office so they accommodate you to the best of their abilities. In addition, during your visit speak to the dentist and hygienist to come up with signals in case you need a break or if something doesn’t feel right.
Bring something soothing or to keep you occupied during your visit. Everyone copes with anxiety differently and has items or practices that soothe them. Often, dental offices will allow patients to use headphones or earplugs to drown out the sounds. Be sure to pack anything you need for comfort and let the office know your plans. Alternatively, some offices, like Dental365 provide TVs with streaming entertainment options in every room. Take advantage of these and watch your favorite TV shows or listen to your favorite music while receiving treatment to help keep your mind off of your visit.
Ask about sedation dentistry options. Sedation dentistry is the administration of sedative drugs to reduce anxiety and facilitate in dental procedures. Dentists often offer different levels of sedation. Consulting with your dentist will be a useful way to determine what is right for you.
Research & educate yourself on your dental office’s new protocols and procedures during COVID-19. Extra precautions are being put into place to keep patients and staff safe. Patients can find this information on their website or by calling the office. It is important to know what to expect before your appointment so you can prepare.
Prepare your PPE for the visit. Masks are required before sitting in the dental chair. Patients should bring the PPE (including masks, gloves and/or glasses) that makes them feel safest while entering and leaving their visit.