Are you scared of the dentist, but you need treatment? You’re not alone. Some studies suggest as many as 48% percent of people have some amount of fear about going to the dentist.
As dental professionals, we know that a lot of people have anxiety about sitting down in the dentist’s chair. Some people are so fearful that they avoid the experience altogether—until the reality of an aching tooth or infection forces them to schedule an appointment.
Finding a compassionate Fort Worth dentist is perhaps the most crucial step when trying to overcome dental anxiety or phobia. Our team understands this, which is why we take the time to get to know you, your concerns, and do whatever we can to put your fears at ease. However; just like with any other healthcare practitioner, not all dentists have the personality, patience, or skills to help people struggling with dental anxiety.
Here’s how to find a local Fort Worth dentist who specializes in treating fearful patients.
Ask People You Trust & Do Some Research
If you don’t currently have a Fort Worth dentist, ask trusted friends and family who they go to or check out online reviews. References like this are the best way to find the right match, as these people already have first-hand experience with the practitioners and the office environment. We’re proud that our practice has more than 750 five-star reviews that offer a direct representation of what our patients experience when visiting our office.
Additionally, you’ll want to check out their website and see if they have a section that specifically outlines how they cater to nervous patients. A lot of websites mention sedation services, along with some standard clichés about dental anxiety, but don’t go into greater detail about how they help fearful patients. That might be a red flag that they don’t really offer much beyond your standard dental sedation services.
Here’s what you should look out for when scanning their website:
- Blog posts or a dedicated section of their site that addresses how they handle dental anxiety.
- Bios of their staff so you can learn more about them.
- Terms like “minimally invasive,” “high-quality,” “gentle,” “family dentistry,” and “comfort” are always good signs.
Check Out Their Office Before Your First Appointment
You’re less likely to be afraid during your initial appointment if you know what you’re expecting beforehand.
Take the time to tour the office, talk to the staff to see if they’re friendly, have a conversation with your practitioner, and ask plenty of questions to see how they’ll accommodate your fears. This will allow you to become familiar with the staff and the office environment and will help you mentally prepare for your upcoming appointment.
At Smile Fort Worth, we find that the more informed our patients are the more comfortable they feel. That’s why we like to meet with nervous patients beforehand, so we can take time to explain procedures and figure out which option works best for them before they commit to doing treatment with us.
We also offer other amenities to help you relax and feel as though you are in your own home. When you arrive at the office, you can request everything from warm blankets and headphones to aromatherapy to help you feel at ease.
Tell Your Dentist About Your Fears And See How They Respond
There are many different triggers of dental anxiety. For some, they have had a previous traumatic experience; for others, they fear the tools dentists use. Because the origin of anxiety can vary from patient to patient, it’s important that you identify your fears and share them with your dentist beforehand.
Like any health care provider, some can be better at connecting with patients and more understanding than others. Before you make your first appointment, tell your prospective dentist about your worries and see if they have patience or compassion for your dread. The goal is to learn how they’ll tackle your anxieties, but you’ll also get a better understanding of the dentist’s “chairside manner” before you actually sit down.
After telling them about your concerns, they should be willing to tailor your experience to address your specific fears. Maybe you need them to provide you with headphones because you hate the sound of drills; or, perhaps they can use minimally invasive tools during your procedure because you’re worried about triggering your gag reflex.
Whatever your anxiety stems from, your Fort Worth dentist should have the tools and techniques to put your worries at ease.
Tell Them If You Need to Take Breaks
During your initial consultation, you should let your practitioner know if you might need breaks. Some people have low pain tolerance, fear being out of control, or simply hate the idea of having tools in their mouth. Whatever the case, there’s no shame if you need a break during your procedure to feel more comfortable.
Before your appointment, you and your dental team can agree on a sign to signal that you need a break. Any understanding Fort Worth dentist will give you time to relax and won’t worry about rushing through appointments.
At Smile Fort Worth, we’re not beholden to insurance contracts that pressure dentists to squeeze in as many patients as possible. This allows our team to take their time and proceed at the pace that’s best for you.
Ask About Appropriate Sedation Treatments
For particularly nervous patients who need a little extra something to take the edge off, don’t hesitate to ask about sedation options. Sedation dentistry can transform a nerve-wracking episode into a calming and relaxing experience.
We offer optional oral medication and other sedatives (such as “laughing gas”) to relieve stress and help you relax in the dentist’s chair. Your practitioner will let you know if you’re a good candidate for sedation dentistry and will recommend the option that best meets your needs.
At Smile Fort Worth, Your Comfort Is Our Main Priority
If you’ve put off a dental appointment because of fear, it’s time to try a new approach. Visit a local practice that puts patient comfort first. Schedule an appointment with Smile Fort Worth today!