young woman receiving dental exam

With the issuance of Covid-19 vaccinations in the United States, many Americans are attempting to return to their ordinary, everyday lives. The Covid-19 pandemic changed many things about the world, and visiting the dentist has likely changed, too.

If it’s been a while since you’ve had your teeth professionally cleaned and examined, your appointment could look slightly different than how routine appointments went in the past. Here are some helpful tips to ease you back into the dental chair and put your mind at ease when it comes to recommitting to dental checkups.

Easing Fears of Seeing the Dentist Again

If you’re feeling anxious about seeing the dentist again after so long, you’re certainly not alone. Whether you’ve always struggled with dental anxiety or the fear you’re experiencing is relatively new, determining the cause is the best way to move past dental anxiety.

Leading causes of dental anxiety include:

Fear of the Unknown

The unknown is the root of many other types of anxiety, and not knowing exactly what will happen when you visit the dentist’s office can cause someone to fear and worry. Having a fear of the dentist finding issues such as cavities, gum disease, or even something more serious like a root canal can have a patient worrying about potential treatments, pain, and the unknown costs to fix these types of issues.

Negative Past Dental Experiences

If you’ve had an uncomfortable dental exam or procedure in the past, then you will find it more challenging to be open to future dental care. These experiences often stem from childhood, as children are nervous about what their exams might be like and what the outcome will be.

Fear of Needles

Other fears that can be related to dental care can also cause someone to have dental anxiety. You may have another phobia, such as a fear of needles or sensitive gag reflex, and these stressors can prevent you from receiving dental care comfortably.

Look For a Dentist You Feel Comfortable With

The right dental office should feel comforting and soothing. Crowded facilities and dated equipment will only heighten your dental anxiety. Finding a practice with friendly and communicative staff will help you in easing your anxiety. Before choosing a provider, check out testimonials and reviews of the office ahead of time so you can have a glimpse of what being a patient of that practice is really like (for better or worse).

When looking for a provider that is a good fit for you, be sure to:

  1. Look for a provider that makes you feel listened to and cared for
  2. Read patient reviews online
  3. Ask around and find out what friends and family members have a dentist they love and would recommend
  4. Let your dentist know you have dental anxiety and are a little nervous! We’re here to help calm your nerves!

Focus on the Positives

If you experience dental anxiety over your first dental visit in a long time, it’s a relatively normal reaction, given everything going on around you. Committing to see your dentist again will help improve any anxieties for a few reasons.

  1. The sooner you see a dentist, the sooner you can know exactly what’s going on in your mouth. You may have gingivitis or gum disease, cavities, or other conditions that are causing you to live in discomfort and pain.
  2. You’re more likely to avoid serious dental problems by receiving regular preventative care and catching issues while they are still small and inexpensive to treat.
  3. Replacing negative dental experiences with positive ones will help reduce bad memories and replace them with great new ones.

Signs You Should See a Dentist

There are sure signs that it’s time to see a dentist sooner than later. If you’re experiencing any of the following, we recommend making an appointment as soon as possible.

  • Yellow teeth – This can mean plaque buildup and poor oral hygiene. A teeth cleaning will help remove external stains and eliminate plaque for a fresh start.
  • Swollen gums – Gums that are swollen or bleeding are a sign you may have gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. Gingivitis is simple to treat and can be improved with better oral hygiene care.
  • Bad breath – This can signify you have a cavity and can also signify gum disease from increased bacteria in the mouth.
  • Receding gums – Your gums can recede for reasons related to gum disease, or it could be an effect of long-term teeth grinding. Too much recession can lead to tooth loss.

At Hoffman Dental Care, we’re doing everything we can to help our patients ease back into regular teeth cleanings and exams. Contact us today if you have any questions about what we’re doing to keep our patients and staff healthy and protected during the pandemic.