Grand Oaks Dental Care
How to Relax at the Dentist
We all have fears in life, and fear of dental work is a common one. When I was younger, I was even deathly afraid of the dentist! Since then, I have learned that there are many things which can help a dental visit become a pleasant one. When building this office, I even specifically incorporated some of them into the design. Most of these suggestions apply to any dentist’s office. Here are some things you can do to help you get to the dental office and through the appointment.
-Simon Amir, D.M.D.
If you let us know how you feel- as early as your first phone call, we can be sure to accommodate you and take the extra time that you may need. If we know what past issues you have had that may have contributed to your fear, we can be sure to address them- for instance, if it takes extra anesthetic to get you numb, we should know that. I like to let my patients know that they are in control- a simple raise of their hand is a stop signal for my staff and I.
You have a lot of options for distracting yourself to help take your mind off the treatment.
- Listen to music or an audio book- most dentists nowadays provide listening options, but otherwise bring your own- it really helps.
- Watch TV- at our office we installed ceiling TV’s so patients could watch their favorite shows or even a virtual nature hike while having work done.
- Take your attention AWAY from the procedure. You can either imagine a place which is relaxing to you (imagine yourself strolling along the beach, for instance), or even just wiggle your toes. Simply giving your brain something else to do is key.
Deep breathing is an easy way to relax yourself. Try breathing in deeply while counting slowly to 5. Hold your breath for a second then, sigh or exhale slowly, and repeat for 4 or 5 breaths. You can do this when you get to the office, or anytime- it helps to practice this regularly. It is a great way to introduce a calm state of mind at any time.
It is difficult to just “relax” your mind when you are anxious. It is, on the other hand, quite easy to trick your mind into relaxing by relaxing the rest of your body. Once your body is relaxed, your mind automatically follows. Try this while laying back in the chair, or even try this at home laying in bed or on a recliner.
- Start at your feet. Tense your toes for 5 seconds, then let go for 20.
- Then do the same with your calves.
- Now, repeat this process for your upper legs, your butt, your tummy, chest, back, upper arms, wrists and hands, neck, and face.
- Each time you relax a set of muscles, try to let go completely, and do this while maintaining slow, relaxed breaths.
- Talk to your doctor if you have a medical condition, to make sure that these exercises are okay for you.
I hope these suggestions are useful for you – I know that they work for me and the countless anxious patients that I see.
Nitrous oxide is a wonderful tool for dentistry. First used in dentistry in 1844, it has a long and well-documented safety record. Nitrous oxide relaxes you, decreases pain sensation in your body, and often makes the appointment seem to go faster. While you are awake and aware of whats going on- you just don’t care nearly as much!
For some of our patients it has been a godsend, allowing them to RELAX at the dentist for the first time in their lives! It takes effect within minutes and is completely reversible so you can go right back to your day when you are done with your appointment. We have nitrous oxide available in every treatment room. If you think you need a little more than “relaxation techniques”, we’ve got you covered.
Grand oaks dental care now offering sedation dentistry, we will be offering sedation dentistry in the office. With these medications, you will be moderately sedated to the point where you will feel like you fell asleep and woke up when we are all done! This allows you to get through any dental procedure with zero anxiety!
With this level of anesthesia, you are very relaxed, yet actually conscious and awake. For this option you would take a pill the night before your appointment, and we would give you further medications in the office. Having a driver to and from the appointment is mandatory, as most people will still feel groggy after the procedure and will want to go home and take a nap.