We know our patients look forward to visiting our merry and charming team, but that doesn’t mean we expect them to excitedly anticipate the dental chair. Dental fear was recently ranked second-greatest in a survey conducted by the British Dental Health Foundation. It beat out snakes, spiders, needles and flying.
Clearly, if you feel anxiety before stepping through our office doors, you are not alone. Last year the Adult Dental Health Survey revealed that about 50 percent of folks, especially women, experience moderate to extreme dental anxiety, with 5 percent severely affected.
So how do you banish this fear of drills and pokes? We can certainly help you out by either prescribing medicine for you to take before your appointment that will relax your nerves or providing in-house sedation with nitrous oxide, which will make your visit a laughing matter.
If you’d rather use your own resources to combat the stress of your appointment, new Swedish research released this week suggests that comedy, optimism and prayer are among the best options.
“Psychological barriers can be broken down by humor, both as a result of the patient and the dentist coming together more as equals, and as a result of humor reducing stress, increasing well-being and creating a pleasant atmosphere,” says Jenny Bernson, a researcher at the University of Gothenburg.
Lucky for our patients, our staff includes Barbie and Patti, some of the most talented, non-invasive smilemakers you’re likely to meet! And Drs. Allen and Hamilton are both gentle, approachable West Texans who will focus on your comfort throughout the entire procedure, and might even throw in a wisecrack or two for good measure.
Staying optimistic by looking forward to eventual outcomes or simply the rest of your day might also quell your unease.
“The study has shown that patients who adopt an optimistic mindset cope with dental treatment significantly better and they visit the dentist more regularly than patients who spend their time in despair or catastrophizing,” Bernson says.
Our team is dedicated to focusing on the positive. Whether discussing your goals for treatment or how you plan to finance the visit, we’re here to cheer you on while we help you achieve the very best results. For you, staying positive while in the chair might mean thinking about how strong and long-lasting your teeth will be, how your current pain will be eradicated, what a gorgeous smile you’re going to have, or the ease with which you’ll go eat that chicken fried steak for lunch!
Distracting yourself with counting, playing games in your mind or listening to our in-office radio iPod might also help you manage the stress by allowing you to distance yourself mentally. Praying continually throughout your visit could calm and comfort you as well. If you’re feeling severely apprehensive and would like a member of our team to pray with you, please ask!