Are you ever nervous and anxious before your dental visit? Dr. Michael A. Kezian DDS, an Emergency Dentist Los Angeles says it’s more common than you think and can be overcome with the following helpful tips. Help is available, you are not alone! There are many attributing factors to Dental Anxiety and Dental Phobia. Bad dental experiences as a child, bad teeth, fear of needles, pain, pre-existing anxiety disorder, lack of control, and of course biological mechanisms attribute to the fear. Those with dental anxiety usually have a sense of uneasiness when it’s time for their appointments – They’ll have exaggerated worries and fears. Those who dental phobias will be terrified and panic stricken. Serious anxiety prevents millions of Americans from seeing proper preventative care – The consequences of this problem may even go far beyond dental pain and lost teeth. Gun disease is a serious infection that can affect other parts of the body. Gum disease has been linked to illnesses diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Usually people with severe dental phobias have a higher risk of gum disease and early tooth loss. Avoiding the dentist can even lead to emotional costs. Discolored damaged teeth can leave you feeling insecure and affect your self-confidence. You may find yourself smiling less due to unsightly discolored teeth and embarrassment. Thankfully Dr. Michael A. Kezian DDS and his staff at The Larchmont Dental Associates are trained to help ease patients with anxiety and fear.

Dental Phobia

Dental Phobia

            Most fears trace back to childhood where the patient experienced pain at the dentist due to the Novocain not kicking in right away and experiencing pain from the drilling. Negative past experiences play a big role in how we feel for years to come. Some have pre existing anxiety disorders that are not even dental related that contribute anxiety and fear of the unknown, which leads to nervousness. Others may feel vulnerable when sitting in the chair, laying back and not knowing what’s going on around them. Even PTSD can be an attributing factor.  Unfortunately, bad teeth is one of the biggest ones which ends up becoming a vicious cycle – The patient avoids going to the Los Angeles Dentist in fear that they may have cavities and will need to have their teeth drilled on, so they avoid the dentist and the issues become worse and more painful, insuring an unpleasant experience in the future attributed to root canal pain and bigger complications. And of course, biological mechanisms like wanting to protect ones open air passages, mouth and nose. It’s a natural instinct engraved down to our DNA to protect these areas in order to survive in the world. The patient goes through a fight-or-flight reaction due to the sights, sounds, and smells of a dental office. All of these factors contribute to Dental Anxiety. The mouth is a very intimate part of our body. When a stranger looks inside your mouth, most people often feel embarrassed, ashamed or uncomfortable.

            The most important thing is to acknowledge which of these are your issues and to understand why. Once you have acknowledged this, it’s important to get help. Having a plan is will help achieve your goals. A great way to start is by meeting your dentist before your treatment starts so you can know the person behind the mask. Having a 10 minute conversation and answering questions is a great ice breaker. Tell your Los Angeles Dentist about your fears. The Larchmont dentist is not judgmental and will not dismiss your fears, he will actually work with you to make sure you feel more relaxed – Dentists are trained to handle fear. Dr. Michael A. Kezian DDS will talk to you during your cleaning, let you know about the dental instruments before they are used by even letting you hold and touch them in order to familiarize yourself with them and explain everything he is doing during your dental appointment so you will be evolved and not feel like you’re in the unknown. Dr. Michael A. Kezian DDS will frequently ask your permission to continue and make sure you get breaks as requested. He gently explains what you will soon feel, and for about how long.

            Bringing a trusted family member or friend with you often helps for reassuring fears and support. They will help calm you before and during your appointment. If you have a gag reflex and dread having x-rays or dental work done, let your Los Angeles Emergency Dentist know, he will make modifications to ensure your ultimate comfort. Noise canceling headphones often help close out the noise of the drill and help you relax within the comfort of your favorite music. Also, pain management options are available to make your visit more comfortable like topical anesthetics to numb tissue before injecting and laser drills instead of traditional ones, although not all dental practices will have them. Your dentist may even spread your dental visits out to make it easier on you. Meditation and distraction techniques also help, such as counting to one thousand by threes, reciting the alphabet backwards in your head, or even practicing a memorized speech. Agree upon a signal with your Los Angeles Dentist which will let them know if you’re feeling anxiety or feeling any pain. Your Larchmont Dentist will immediately stop and give you a few moments to settle down. The goal is to leave each visit saying “That was OK; I could certainly see myself doing that again if I needed to.” Once you get to that place you’ve achieved a big milestone.

Larchmont Dentist

Larchmont Dentist

            Most importantly, if you don’t feel comfortable with your dentist, it may be a good idea to change dentists and find the right fit for you. It’s okay to look somewhere else. Many dentists lack the patience to treat fearful patients with the care they deserve. Even those who advertise that they “cater to fearful patients” may not do a good job. If you’re looking for a new dentist be honest about your fears from the first call. Ask to speak to the dentist about your fears before you come in. If the receptionist seems dismissive, or the dentist never returns your call, don’t go! That’s not the right office for you.

            Children are more likely to be afraid of the dentist than adults. It’s important not to pass on your fears to your kids. Do make-believe dentist visits at home with your kids to prepare them by playing dentist. Pretend to clean their teeth and check for cavities. Talk to your children about their fears and try to figure out the core of the fear. Getting your children in the dental chair at a young age is a great way to get them accustomed to the dental experience before other children share their fears with them. Start bringing your child to the dentist as soon as their baby teeth come in. They will become more comfortable with cleaning and familiar with The Los Angeles Dentist. Do you or your children have a fear of the dentist? Make an appointment at the Larchmont Dental Associates. Dr. Michael A. Kezian DDS and his staff will help you overcome your dental phobia and fear, answer all your questions and put you at ease. Trust between patient and doctor is key – At the Larchmont Dental Associates our goal is to maintain long term relationships with our patients. Your comfort and ease is most important!

Larchmont Dental Associates – 581 N. Larchmont Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90004 (323) 465-2127 –  www.larchmontdentists.com