If you're afraid to visit the dentist, you're not alone. According to WebMD, 20% of US citizens have a noteworthy fear of dental treatment. It's normal to be a little nervous when you visit a doctor's office, but if you're anxious to the point that it interferes with your ability to visit the dentist, you may have a dental phobia. Here are three tips to help you overcome your dental anxiety:
1. Listen to music.
Listening to music during your dentist appointment is a great way to take your mind off your fears. Make sure to double check with your dentist to make sure it's all right first, but most dentists will be happy to accommodate this request. Opt for earbuds instead of bulky headphones that may get in the way during your dental treatment, and try to pick soothing music that will calm your nerves.
2. Consider an oral sedative.
If you have a dental phobia, it's important to communicate your fears to your dentist ahead of time. They can help you prepare for your appointment by offering you an oral sedative to make your dentist appointment easier. You'll be given a prescription to fill before your appointment. Usually dentists prescribe a drug called triazolam, which produces a moderate sedative effect. You'll take the pill one hour before your appointment so it has time to get into your system before you see the dentist. If you opt for oral sedation, you'll need to have a friend or family member drive you to the dentist's office, since you will be unable to drive while under the effects of triazolam.
3. Ask for nitrous oxide.
Nitrous oxide is another anxiolytic that can be used to mitigate your dental phobia. It's a mild sedative that can be used alone or in conjunction with an oral sedative. If you decide to use nitrous oxide, your dentist will place a mask over your nose which will deliver a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen to your lungs. The drug will make you feel more relaxed, and you may feel sleepy or tingly. The benefit of nitrous oxide is that its effects disappear as soon as you stop inhaling it, so you will be clear-headed enough to drive yourself home after your dental procedure.
There's no shame in being afraid to visit the dentist's office, but it's important that you still go for regular check-ups. Oral health is too important to be neglected. These three tips will help you overcome your dental anxiety so you can seek dental treatment free of fear.