PA Department of Health Ruling Regarding Dental Appointments

4 Action Steps to Ease Dental Fear and Anxiety

At Three Rivers Dental Group, our friendly, caring, and compassionate team specializes in easing dental fear and anxiety. We understand patient concerns surrounding dentist visits and offer a variety of sedation dentistry techniques for pleasant, comfortable, and anxiety-free dental experiences. Ease dental fear and anxiety by taking action steps to benefit oral health.

1. Identify Common Triggers of Dental Anxiety

Indications of dental anxiety can range from a feeling of general uneasiness or overwhelming distress leading up to and during a dental appointment. Dental anxiety signs and symptoms can include heart palpitations, panic attacks, low blood pressure, and extreme sweating. Common sensory triggers include the sterile smell of a dental environment, sounds of buzzing or drilling, or the feel of dental instruments in the mouth. While pain is arguably the number one reason why people won’t visit the dentist, unpleasant past dentistry experiences, including price points for dental work or shame associated with the state of oral health can also trigger dental anxiety. If you are afraid to visit the dentist, you are not alone. According to Dentophobia Statistics of Dentist Fear and Anxiety studies have demonstrated dental fear is experienced by greater than 75% of the adult population to some degree, and of those, nearly 5-10% experience fear so profound, it’s classified as “dental phobia.” In fact, between 9% and 20% of Americans avoid going to the dentist due to anxiety or fear. Three Rivers Dental Group helps patients overcome dental anxiety and we understand affordability is an important part of quality dental and denture treatment. Three Rivers Dental Group participates with most dental insurance companies and provides payment plans for affordable dental care with professional attention every patient deserves.

2. Practice Coping Techniques

Avoiding a trip to the dentist due to dental fear and anxiety can lead to increased oral health issues. Our dental team is here to help address patient concerns and provide the best care to every patient. When scheduling an appointment with our dental team, discuss your level of dental fear or anxiety for coping strategies personalized to your dental care needs. If you have any apprehension about visiting a dentist, rest assured there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Sharing your feelings on seeing a dentist as well as discussing past dental work experiences will help our team understand your anxiety level to ensure a comfortable and pleasant dental visit. Communicate with your dentist any present pain being experienced or any worries you may have regarding the possibility of pain during dental work. Both Healthline and the American Dental Association offer additional insight into coping techniques to apply during a dentist visit to help ease dental fear and anxiety and combat dental stress including:

  • Breathing exercises to reduce tension and relax the mind and body.
  • Mindful meditation for muscle relaxation.
  • Smiling while visualizing happy or positive experiences through guided imagery.
  • Sensory and auditory distractions in the dental chair, including watching TV, listening to music through headphones, or squeezing a stress ball.

3. Consider Sleep or Sedation Dentistry Solutions

The advantages of sedation dentistry are simple. With sedation dentistry, the brain is unable to register pain. No Sights! No Sounds! No Fears! Pain is completely removed. Sedation allows patients to relax during dental treatment, free of anxiety. Sedation is possible for many patients experiencing pre-procedure anxiety or extreme fear due to heightened sensitivity or pain, even during a regular dental exam and teeth cleaning. Sedation helps patients breathe easier and relax during dental procedures. It also works well for gag reflex suppression. Sedation or sleep dentistry is perfectly safe for patients in good health. Our experts at Three Rivers Dental Group are trained in accordance with American Dental Association standards and always put patient health and well-being first. Our sleep and sedation dentistry solutions include oral, inhaled minimal, IV moderate, or deep sedation. Before recommending sedation, our dentists will carefully review patient health and medical history, adhering to the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ requirements for sleep dentistry. Methods of delivery can be adjusted based on the intensity of the procedure.

4. Improve Oral Health with Routine Dental Care

Fear of pain associated with traumatic dental issues causes many patients to put off visiting their dentist regularly for routine dental care checkups. Regular dental visits are important for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Overcome fear of routine dental care by putting to practice dental coping techniques and considering sedation or sleep dentistry solutions during oral health treatments. Regular dental visits are recommended every six months to protect healthy teeth and gums and address any critical oral health care needs. During a routine dental appointment, your dentist will conduct a check-up on the condition of teeth and gums, including a careful examination of the tongue to identify any signs of swelling, irritation, or redness, and perform a light cleaning to polish teeth and remove any plaque and tartar buildup. X-rays may also be taken to detect cavities between teeth. An oral health plan tailored to each individual’s unique dentistry needs will be addressed, with a recommendation to schedule follow-up appointments for a deeper cleaning with scaling or a plan of action for dental treatment procedures for replacement teeth. Seeing a dentist regularly for dental exams helps to maintain oral health and the quality of dentures, partials, and dental implants.

We urge any patient who has delayed oral health care due to dental anxiety to get out of pain and feel good again. If you are experiencing dental pain, we can usually see you the same day. Contact us immediately to schedule an appointment if experiencing any of the following oral health issues:

  • Prolonged Bleeding of Gums
  • Swollen Mouth or Gums
  • Tooth or Jaw Pain
  • Post Surgery Oral Infection
  • Cracked, Broken, Loose, or Knocked Out Teeth
  • Noticeable Denture or Partial Shifts Requiring Adjustment
  • Throbbing Pain in Jaw or Gums Surrounding a Dental Implant

We are committed to helping patients defeat dentophobia and achieve great dental health by treating and managing dental pain with no fear sedation dentistry. Patient comfort and appointment convenience is our top priority at Three Rivers Dental Group. We encourage new patients to complete a New Patient Form prior to booking an appointment to indicate their level of comfort with seeing a dentist and call us at 1 (855) 4 NO FEARS to schedule a worry-free appointment. We can complete all dental work while you sleep, plus we offer financing options to make the whole experience less painful. We are conveniently located throughout the Pittsburgh area in Cranberry, Greentree, Greensburg, Jennerstown, and Washington.