Dental anxiety is common. Nearly a quarter of people experience some level of dental anxiety. For most people, anxiety just makes dental visits unpleasant, but for some people, anxiety is so powerful that it keeps them from making dental appointments.
Las Vegas dentist Dr. James B. Polley wants to make sure that you not only make your dental appointments but that they are as comfortable as possible. To help you out, we offer these tips for relaxing at the dentist.
Tell Your Dentist about Anxiety
One of the most important things you can do to manage your anxiety is to talk to your dentist about it. Not only will this remove the level of anxiety where you’re worried about your worry, but it gives your dentist important knowledge.
Las Vegas dentist Dr. Polley has extensive experience working with anxious patients. He knows how to help you feel relaxed in the dental chair. From informing you what he’s doing before he does it to working with a gentle touch, he has many techniques to help you feel comfortable.
Work Out Signals with the Dentist
Many people feel anxious in part because they feel their dental procedures are out of control. Working out signals with your dentist gives you more control.
Use a simple hand signal to tell Las Vegas dentist Dr. Polley, when you need to stop or ask a question. This can give you the control you need to feel relaxed. Often, you never need to use it. Just imagining yourself using it can be comforting.
Ask All Your Questions (Or Don’t!)
Another factor that can contribute to anxiety is not understanding what’s happening. Making sure to ask your dentist everything you need to know about your procedure can help you feel comfortable.
Don’t worry about asking too many questions. Las Vegas dentist Dr. Polley is patient, and he doesn’t mind answering your questions.
Note: for some people knowing the details can actually increase stress. If you’d rather not know, then it’s okay not to ask.
Get a Morning Appointment
Some people find that worrying about their upcoming appointment makes anxiety worse. If this is you, try getting a dental appointment first thing in the morning.
At the Las Vegas office of Dr. Polley, we are sympathetic to anxious patients and can help you schedule an appointment at a time that’s comfortable for you.
Sometimes it’s important to find a way to distract yourself from your dental procedure. Science proves that this is effective at reducing anxiety. Fortunately, these days there are many options for distraction. Consider using music, games, or just a soothing image on your phone as a tool for helping you to feel calm in the dental chair.
You can counter dental anxiety by building positive associations with your dental appointments. One way to do this is to reward yourself every time you make your dental appointment. Decide on the best timing for your reward. Some treats you can buy before you go–maybe a special piece of clothing that makes you feel comfortable and confident or a small object you can hold and focus on during the procedure. Other times, it makes sense to put the reward after. Then you can focus on it during your treatment.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
If distraction and rewards don’t do enough to help you relax, try specific relaxation techniques, like controlled breathing, meditation, and biofeedback. These powerful mental strategies can overcome dental anxiety for many people. However, it can take practice to make them work for you. Start long before your dental appointment to make sure they are effective for you.
Bring a Friend
Sometimes moral support makes all the difference. If you can’t be comfortable at the dentist on your own, maybe having a friend along can help. Find a friend who is comforting, doesn’t mind spending the time and knows how to be supportive without interfering unnecessarily.
Get Sedation Dentistry
For some people, it’s not possible or practical to overcome dental anxiety on their own. That’s what sedation dentistry is for. To help people with this level of dental anxiety, Las Vegas sedation dentist Dr. Polley offers multiple sedation options.
Oral Sedation: This is a relatively low-level sedation that helps people with mild to moderate dental anxiety. You’ll be aware of what’s going on, but you won’t care about it very much. It’s simply a pill that you take either before you visit our office or even once you arrive. You’ll have to have someone drive you after you take your sedation medication.
Deep Sedation: For people with more severe dental anxiety, deep sedation is an IV sedation approach that causes you to lose consciousness. You’re not completely out, but you won’t have much awareness of what’s going on.
General Anesthesia: Dr. Polley is one of the few dentists in Las Vegas certified to offer general anesthesia at his dental practice. This helps people with the greatest dental anxiety, as well as those with long and/or invasive dental procedures. You’ll be completely unconscious during the procedure and will wake up only after the procedure is complete.
Relaxing Dentistry in Las Vegas
Is dental anxiety making it uncomfortable or impossible to get to the dentist in Las Vegas? Let Dr. James B. Polley help you be relaxed at the dentist.
Please call (702) 873-0324 or contact us online today for an appointment at the dental office of Dr. James B. Polley in the Summerlin community of Las Vegas, near the Summerlin Library.