If you haven't been to a dentist for over a year because of fear, your teeth and gums may be paying the price. The good news is dentists today understand these fears and are doing what they can to make dental appointments more comfortable for their patients. For example, dental offices now take on friendlier environments than in the past, with cozy waiting rooms, soothing music, and staff who know how to make the appointment feel less like a formal event. So don't be embarrassed to discuss your concerns and fears with your dentist. Together you can customize solutions to reduce your stress level during future treatment.
Your dentist may ease you into dental treatment by scheduling simple procedures like exams or cleaning before starting more complicated procedures. They may even suggest some form of dental anesthesia or sedation to eliminate pain and anxiety during this treatment stage. Dentists often use distraction to calm fears, too – headphones for music or goggles for watching videos, both of which can divert your attention away from the process itself. Of course, nervous patients should consider using their own relaxation techniques as well.