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What To Do If You Have Dental Anxiety

Updated: 9 hours ago

BELIEVE IT OR NOT, we as dentists know that most of our patients don't exactly love visiting us. In fact, nearly 40% of the general American population admit to having anxiety or fear of the dentist. So if you experience some level of nervousness or fear before coming to see us, you certainly aren't alone!

We understand that dental anxiety can stem from a number of things like anticipating a painful treatment, traumatic prior dental experiences, or fear of dental tools or materials.

The good news is that we are aware of the anxiety that can come with a dentist appointment and acknowledge it is a very real and valid feeling -- and we're always ready to not only provide tips on managing your anxiety but to make sure your visits are comfortable and enjoyable.

Regular visits and a good dental routine are key

If you feel anxious about visiting the dentist, you may not want to hear that regular visits are part of the solution. But your mouth is the gateway to your body and as with any health treatment, if you delay or avoid treatment, this can lead to future issues or complications.

Little, repeated actions can create big changes, like brushing your teeth at least twice a day, regularly flossing, and routinely getting your teeth cleaned. The best way to avoid long appointments or complex procedures is to regularly visit your dentist and maintain good oral health.

As your South San Francisco dentist, we are here to not only understand the bigger picture of your overall health but to also partner with you and be a guide in managing your oral health.

Talk with your dentist

Visiting the dentist can be a very intimidating task, let alone talking with your dentist about your fears or concerns. But it's important for dentists and healthcare providers to be aware of the barriers which may prevent their patients from coming to see them.

Just as it is important for dentists to be aware of dental anxiety, we also encourage you to share your feelings with us so we can understand your needs and ensure you are as comfortable as possible. Our goal is to establish trust and demonstrate care for our patients. Clear and open communication can help foster that trust, and will lead us to establishing a strong relationship as your dental healthcare provider.

Manage pain and anxiety with strategies for staying calm

Once your dentist understands how you feel, they can also share advice for anxiety management and keep this in mind for future appointments. This can include relaxation or mindful exercises like focused breathing and meditation, or exploring other strategies for reducing dental anxiety.

At South San Francisco Dental Care, we take the patient experience very seriously. As we always like to say, "Dentistry is our profession but service is our passion." That's why we have a whole list of complimentary items we carefully curated to help each of our patients feel more at ease.

To help calm any nerves, you can listen to music or stream your favorite show, stay warm with a soft blanket, or use other comfort items like a squeezable ball or a neck pillow to release tension.

Ask about sedation dentistry

Patients have a wide range of needs which is why we look to provide a wide range of options for every dental need.

When it comes to dental anxiety, we can use sedation dentistry to minimize pain or discomfort, and aid you in feeling as safe, relaxed and comfortable as possible.

We can provide Nitrous Oxide, commonly known as "laughing gas" which can help patients stay relaxed and anxiety-free. It acts fast and wears off quickly making it an ideal option for short or minor procedures.

We also have intravenous or IV sedation which is a wonderful option for patients who experience high levels of anxiety when receiving dental treatment, but do not want to be completely put to sleep during their procedure.

A great option for patients who want to be "put to sleep" and complete a lot of treatment is Deep Sedation. Dr. Alexander Targ, our highly skilled and trained anesthesiologist, will ensure you are completely comfortable during your treatment.

Ready to overcome your dental anxiety?

We are here for you. From our youngest patients, to our young at heart patients, we are experienced and fully prepared to welcome any and all patients, no matter the status of their oral health. We are proud of the many positive experiences from our patients, and always strive to make our office a safe and comfortable space.

"This was the BEST dentist appointment experience ever! Going into my appointment, I had a lot of anxiety. The team assured me that these feelings are normal and they will do whatever they can to make this a positive experience. I had the pleasure of having Stephanie, Tess, and Kamille as my dentist team for this appointment. They were all amazing and talked me through each step of my appointment and answered all my questions. I’m so happy I found this place!" - Naomi H.

We know going to the dentist can be intimidating but we encourage you to take that first step and commend you for your bravery. We look forward to seeing you soon and are here to warmly welcome you!


The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.


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