How to Get Past Dental Anxiety and Get Back to the Dentist

Fear of the dentist prevents millions of Americans from getting the dental care they need every year. However, avoiding the dentist can make dental problems more extreme and costly in the end. Here's how to manage dental anxiety and make routine dental care a habit.

Understand your own anxiety

Being afraid of the dentist can mean different things for different people. Some people avoid the dentist primarily because they're worried about how expensive their dental needs might be. In that case, getting set up with the right dental insurance and an in-network dentist can help make that concern more manageable.

For people who are afraid of the potential physical pain of dental procedures, find a dentist who will talk you through the procedure and give anesthetic options. If the dental anxiety is more about shame due to a long absence from the dentists' chair, tell your dentist upfront about your lapsed dental care and remember that they have certainly seen worse.

Look for a dentist that understands dental anxiety

A dentist who is knowledgeable about dental anxiety will make the process of getting back to the dentist much easier. Look for a dentist who is prepared to make accommodations, which could include explaining the tools they'll use during the appointment, allowing you to take breaks, and other proven anti-anxiety solutions.

Once you match with a good dentist, don't be afraid to ask for any accommodations that you feel may make your visit more tolerable.

Bring a friend to your appointment

Bringing a spouse or friend to your dental appointment can make the experience less anxiety-provoking.

Many people who have dental anxiety have trouble with the feeling of being unable to speak or being vulnerable in the dentist's chair. A friendly advocate can help ensure that not only are you never alone, but you are able to communicate your needs even when your mouth is mid-cleaning.

Don't get all your dental work done at once

If you've avoided the dentist for a long time, you may need more dental work than a routine cleaning and X-rays. If you need multiple procedures, it may seem overwhelming — potentially time consuming, painful, and expensive.

However, you don't need to get all the procedures done in one sitting. Instead, try to come up with a plan with your dentist about the best way to break up your future work into visits that feel manageable and also make sense for your health. Urgent procedures may still need to be done in one visit, but many kinds of dental work can be paced to help make each visit a more pleasant experience. Not only will this help you get back on track with your dental care, but it can help create a foundation of positive experiences that help build dental health into an ordinary part of life.

Source: iQuanti, Inc.

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Categories: Healthcare Insurance

Tags: Dental insurance, Dentistry, Healthcare, Healthcare Insurance