How To Ease Dental Anxiety Before A Major Procedure

Dental anxiety is very common. Even if you make it through regular tooth cleaning procedures without too much anxiety, the prospect of a more involved procedure like a wisdom tooth extraction or dental implant surgery may have you shaking in your boots. Don't let this fear keep you from getting the dental work that you need. Here are a few tips to ease your anxiety before the appointment.

Speak with a therapist.

You may not need to have regular appointments if your dental anxiety is not on-going and is mostly related to this one procedure. But having at least one sit-down with a psychologist before your dental appointment can be very helpful. Your therapist will help you identify what, exactly, about the dental procedure is intimidating to you, and then they can work through those feelings with you to help you realize their irrationality and formulate a healthier mindset surrounding the procedure. If you're having trouble finding a therapist who regularly works with dental anxiety patients, ask your dentist if they can recommend one.

Tell your dentist you're feeling anxious.

If your dentist knows you're not comfortable with the idea of the procedure, he or she can take steps to help ease your anxiety. Your appointment may be scheduled when the dentist is less busy so they can spend more time with you. Some dentists may let you choose the music that plays during the procedure so you can pick tunes that are more relaxing to you. You may even be allowed to wear headphones or play games on your phone during the procedure, depending on the position you need to be in while your dentist works on you.

Opt for sedation.

Most all procedures are performed under local anesthesia so you don't experience any pain during them. But the idea of having those surgical instruments in your mouth can still make you uncomfortable. Ask your family dentist about sedative options that will take the edge off so you don't feel so uncomfortable and nervous during the procedure. Many dentists use laughing gas, which you breathe in through a mask, as their sedative of choice. It causes few side effects and wears off quickly, so you should be able to drive yourself home. Some dentists prefer to use oral sedatives like Valium, which you take by mouth before your appointment. If you take an oral sedative, you'll have to have someone drive you to and from your appointment since it remains active in your system for a while.