Recently, I had a patient in my dental chair who relocated to another state but continues care at my office. He struggles with a fear of dental work and we have helped him manage his anxiety throughout the years. I asked him after his visit, why he continued care with us despite relocation. He replied that our office was the only practice that he ever walked out of feeling happy. I wish all patients could walk out of their dental office with a smile, especially those with a fear of receiving dental work! That is why I would love to share a few helpful tips to making experiences at your dental office more pleasant, and to help encourage individuals who have had negative experiences to not give up on finding methods or a dentist that will put your worries at ease!
1.) Find a Dental Team That Works on Your Behalf: It can be unsettling when you are being rushed out the door at an appointment, feeling like just another number! An exceptional dental team values you as a patient and provides an environment of trust and comfort. Every team member you interact with plays a dynamic role in your overall patient experience. From the front office coordinators, to the hygiene team and assistants, it is imperative to find a team that goes above and beyond to give you the best possible care! A thorough dental team acts as your oral care advisor, advocates for your well-being, works with your busy schedule to find an accommodating appointment, verifies your insurance and benefits coverage, and makes you feel at ease with their professionalism, expertise, and friendly demeanor.
2.) A Patient Informed, is a Patient Empowered! To find happiness at a dental practice, it is crucial to leave the office feeling that no stone has been left unturned. Each visit you should walk out knowing that the dentist and team have taken the time to educate you about maintaining optimal oral health. However, if there is something you are confused or worried about, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions! Request a one on one meeting or a phone call with the dentist if you have concerns about an upcoming surgery. Ask about specific techniques being performed during new patient or hygiene exams. A patient with more knowledge about a dental procedure, feels less nervous and is empowered to act!
3.) Consistency is Key. There are many excellent dental providers out there. Once you find the one that is right for you, stick with your routine cleanings, exams, X-rays, and other preventative measures! Dentists are striving to preserve the longevity of your natural teeth, gums and bone structure. Therefore, by completing routine care, potential concerns are caught early, and serious dental procedures may be reduced in the future. Regular attendance can also alleviate anxiety because after frequent visits, you will know what to expect each visit and will feel more comfortable seeing the same friendly and familiar dental team.
4.) Sedation: If you suffer from dental anxiety, it is imperative to find a dental office with an environment conducive to a relaxing dental experience. If you feel apprehensive about receiving dental care because of fear or previous negative experiences, sedation dentistry could be a great option for you! This process involves using a trusted and approved sedative to make you feel more calm, relaxed, and at ease during dental appointments or surgeries. Depending on the severity of your anxiety, or the length of your dental procedure, there are different options available to you!
• Nitrous Oxide: also known as laughing gas, is a safe and mild sedative gas used for relaxation.
• Oral Conscious Sedation: medication taken orally prior to appointment. Allows for a more calming experience. No needles needed. Remain awake but unaware of what is happening. Patients are still able to communicate with dental team during the whole procedure.
• IV Conscious Sedation: Used during long dental procedures or for individuals with severe dental anxiety. Receive sedation medication intravenously and fall into a “twilight sleep.” In a peaceful state, but still able to communicate with dentist if need be. Completely safe. Individuals are closely monitored through the entirety of the procedure. Can result in less swelling and pain after procedure. Smoother recovery time.
Finding the right dental team may take some time and exploration. Just like any relationship, you must find an office that is suited to your individual needs. However, by communicating your questions and concerns, practicing consistency, finding a dental group that thoroughly educates, and by considering sedation to alleviate anxiety, you will be on your way to a more pleasant experience. Are you looking for a new dental group to call home? Call Pro Solutions today! We are always accepting new patients and emergencies. Contact us to make an appointment or schedule a complimentary office tour at: 928-776-1208. Visit us online at: www.prescottdentist.com! We can’t wait to meet you!