Richmond, VA dentist provides tips to overcome your fear of a tooth extraction
We’d all like to live our whole lives with our healthy, natural teeth, but sometimes a tooth extraction becomes necessary due to traumatic injury, decay or disease, genetics, or other factors. At Richmond Family Dentistry in Richmond, VA, we understand that facing a tooth extraction can be anxiety provoking for even the calmest of patients. Dr. Olivia Hart provides gentle, compassionate care and prioritizes your mental health before, during, and after the tooth extraction just as much as your oral health. Below, you will find tips to overcome your fear of a tooth extraction as well as information on how Dr. Hart makes your extraction experience comfortable from the time before you even sit in the dental chair through recovery.
Knowledge is power
One of the biggest sources of anxiety is the unknown. People inherently fear what they don’t know, and the human brain can easily imagine more painful or traumatic scenarios in advance of the extraction than what will actually occur. When you walk into the office for your procedure fully informed, you will feel more in control of the situation and have less anxiety.
Because of this, we encourage patients to learn as much about the extraction process and what to expect before, during, and after treatment so that they feel empowered in their own dental care. We walk through the entire procedure with you and encourage you to ask as many questions as needed. We can also point you to online resources to learn more if you are interested.
It is also helpful to know that extractions are actually quick procedures! They typically take much less time than other procedures such as fillings or crowns. Know that the human mouth is also remarkable at healing – the usual recovery period from a tooth extraction is only a few days, and the extraction can often provide relief from immense pain.
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Have confidence that an extraction is the right choice
Understanding why a tooth extraction is recommended can also help make you feel more confident that the extraction is the right choice. Dr. Hart takes a conservative approach in all her treatment recommendations and favors keeping your natural teeth whenever it is possible, but in some cases, it is truly in your best interest to extract one or more teeth to preserve your oral health.
- A tooth can become irreparably damaged due to extensive decay or an abscess, in which case removing it is necessary to stop the spread of decay to surrounding teeth and tissues
- A traumatic injury can also cause enough damage to a tooth to prevent it from being saved, such as if it is broken beneath the gum line
- Advanced gum disease can weaken the underlying bone structure, causing the corresponding teeth to become loose and unable to securely attach to the jaw any longer
- When root canal therapy is needed, it can be better for your long-term health to have the tooth removed so that bacteria and toxins are not permanently circulating throughout your body
- Wisdom teeth can become impacted and cause oral health issues necessitating their removal
You can rest assured that if there is a way to avoid extraction while preserving your oral health, Dr. Hart will recommend it! For example, she offers options such as the ALF appliance to create space in the mouth when crowding is an issue instead of choosing to extract healthy natural teeth.
Bring a family member or friend with you
The companionship of a good friend or family member can go a long way towards calming your nerves on the way to your appointment and knowing that you have a trusted person supporting you and ready to help afterwards can help alleviate anxieties while you are sitting in the dental chair.
Listen to music
Music has many positive effects on the human brain. We encourage you to bring your favorite music to listen to during the procedure, or you can even listen to a podcast on an interesting topic to help distract your mind.
Practice relaxation techniques
Breathing techniques and mindfulness meditation can be extremely calming. A simple breathing exercise of breathing in for a count of four, holding it for a count of four, and then letting it out slowly for a count of six calms your body at the biological level: it slows your heart rate and signals your body to relax your muscles. We are also happy to give patients information on meditation techniques or progressive muscle relaxation methods that can help relieve stress and anxiety.
The Richmond Family Dentistry difference
At Richmond Family Dentistry, we use holistic practices to help minimize both the anxiety you experience during a tooth extraction and the impact it has on your oral health.
- We perform most extractions in-house where you are familiar and comfortable with your surroundings and use the latest dental technologies, such as laser dentistry, to minimize the pain and possibility of side effects from the procedure and expedite your healing and recovery.
- Sedation dentistry options are available. We can provide nitrous oxide during your treatment to help calm your nerves, or oral conscious sedation can be provided in advance of treatment for patients who are suffering from greater anxiety. When you use oral conscious sedation, you will need a friend or family member to drive you to and from your appointment, but you will likely not even remember anything about the procedure afterwards, so it can be a great option for patients who have extreme dental fears.
- In many cases, only a local anesthetic is necessary to perform the extraction painlessly.
- Dr. Hart and her entire dental team use a gentle touch and talk with you throughout the whole procedure to ensure you are comfortable and doing well. We can take breaks from the procedure at any time that you feel like you need to pause.
- We offer several healthy tooth replacement options to minimize the effects of tooth loss on your long-term oral health, such as ceramic implants, bridges, and dentures.
If you need a tooth extraction but have been delaying your treatment due to dental fear, we encourage you to call Richmond Family Dentistry and talk to us about your options for a comfortable, biological extraction. Our Richmond, VA office can be reached at (804) 381-6238.