Your next dentist appointment should be anticipated, not dreaded or feared. If your emotions fall with the latter, chances are you have a reason behind your reluctance to go to the dentist. You’re worried about what your dentist is going to tell you. You don’t have insurance. You’re just not looking forward to it.
Your dentist appointment doesn’t have to feel like the proverbial root canal. A dentist appointment can actually be a pleasant experience, especially if you use these tips.
Choose your dentist carefully.
Obviously, we usually look forward to seeing people we are comfortable with; that definitely applies to your dentist. Find a dentist that you want to see at your next dentist appointment; someone you trust with the care of your mouth and are comfortable talking to about oral health concerns (and any anxieties or fears you have). Search for dentists that get good online reviews, are highly recommended by friends and family, take your dental insurance (if you have it), and make you feel comfortable and at ease.
Face your fear.
An estimated 30-40 million Americans have a fear of the dentist. Unfortunately, that fear can stand in the way of regular dental care and lead to a host of dental issues. If you have a dental phobia, select a dentist that calms your anxiety. Be upfront with the dentist about your fears (even before you come in, like when you make the appointment); they may recommend certain tactics for dealing with your fear.
Know exactly how much you owe.
One of the most common reasons for avoiding the dentist is the cost. Like a fear of the unknown, it’s hard to walk into the dentist office not knowing how much it is going to cost for dental care. Instead, contact the dentist office before your appointment. Ask for an exact quote for dental care, and be very clear with staff that you need them to stay within the scope of work. To alleviate the impact of the cost, ask your dentist if they offer a health savings plan that allows you to save funds for all dental work.
Keep up with your brushing and flossing.
“What is the dentist going to tell me? What if it’s a cavity?” Another common concern is fear of what the dentist might say. While you can’t control many dental problems, you can keep up with regular brushing and flossing. Brush twice a day, and floss often. Use a fluoride rinse to strengthen teeth so you can feel secure in the fact that you’re doing your best to keep serious dental issues at bay.
Bring along a support system (if needed).
It’s okay to bring along someone to hold your hand, especially if you are anxious about the experience. Bring along a family or friend who you trust and can put your mind at ease during the appointment. If you are nervous that you won’t feel up to voicing any questions or concerns, have your friend or family member read the issues off the list to the dentist.
Schedule your appointment for a “less busy” day.
Your dentist appointment is going to go more smoothly if you are in the right state of mind when you walk in the door. Schedule the appointment for a day when you are not in a hurry or stressed and can prepare yourself for the dental appointment.
Take along a book or soothing music.
It’s okay to distract yourself while in the dentist chair. While you can’t answer e-mails or play games on your phone, you can take along a book to keep your mind off of your anxiety and soothing music to ease your stress during your appointment.
Have a list of questions and/or concerns.
One of the biggest disappointments that can accompany a dentist appointment is feeling like you didn’t have all your questions answered and concerns addressed. When you go to an appointment, have a list of questions and concerns prepared and ready for the dentist. A few minutes of planning can leave you feeling satisfied with your dentist and your experience.