I am always nervous about the dentist, but last Wednesday was worse than ever. I was supposed to talk to my dentist about implants for two missing upper molar teeth. But I had a panic attack in the waiting area and had to leave without seeing her. When I pulled into the parking lot, I started feeling nauseous. I thought about calling the office and telling them that I was in the parking lot but sick.
For some reason, I decided to go in any way. I felt woozy and sat down quickly. When the dental assistant called my name, I jumped up and walked out of the office. I called to apologize but did not reschedule. I don’t know what to do next. I am terrified that this is something that I won’t be able to cope with enough to get dental implants. I am embarrassed but do not want to start over with another dentist. Thanks. Alex from Sioux Falls, SD
Alex – You may need to start by addressing the reason for your anxiety. Often past dental experiences that were painful—emotionally or physically—cause anxiety. Then, consider whether your current dentist understands and sympathizes with your anxiety.
Dentists who welcome anxious patients will listen to your concerns and fears and address them. Frequent, clear communication may be enough to calm your fears. Some patients require sedation for dental appointments, and you may be one of them.
We suggest that you start by speaking with your current dentist. If she does not understand your anxiety, look for another implant dentist. Use the consultation to explain your concerns and ask what the dentist can do to help you relax. Ask friends for recommendations for dentists or search online for dentists who cater to anxious patients. We are confident that you will find a dentist to meet your needs.
Dr. Rick Lane, a Petaluma, California dentist, sponsors this post.