Many people feel apprehensive about visiting the dentist. Joining Bloom’s Gayle Guyardo, Creating Smiles’ own laser and cosmetic dentist Dr. Cindy Brayer and dental hygienist Tiffany Feger talk about what advice they give to nervous patients and what we do to help ease their anxieties.
You’re not alone
If you find yourself getting anxious about – or even dreading – going to the dentist, you’re not alone. According to the Cleveland Clinic, over 35% of people in the United States experience some degree of dental anxiety or fear.
Our dental hygienist, Tiffany Feger, reassures her patients that what they are feeling is entirely normal.
“I let them know [that] it’s really normal. And it’s really common also. Especially on your first visit to the dentist, you might have some apprehension there. But we start by listening and going over any questions that you have. And then we can start with baby steps. So when you take little baby steps, you’ll get to trust us and know us. We can give you the smile of your dreams [and you may find] that you actually like your dentist.”
Communication and taking the time to make sure each patient feels heard and respected are key to putting them at ease. “The most important thing is just listening to what our patients want and really trying to address their concerns,” explains Dr. Brayer.
“A big thing that I do is to make sure that I treat them the way I would want to be treated. So when I talk to [a patient], I think of what I would want for myself and I try to make them feel as comfortable as possible, so that they’ll have that trust in us.”
Our Comfort Menu
One of the more unique ways we help put our patients at ease is through our Comfort Menu. We offer a variety of comforts while you are in our dental chair to make sure your time with us is as comfortable, relaxing, and pain-free as possible.
As Tiffany Feger explains:
“Our comfort menu is something [we offer] to help patients feel more at home. We start when you come in by offering you a cold bottle of water. And then [once you’re back in our operatory], we can give you a neck pillow and a warm blanket. We [also] give you headphones so you can listen to music or watch a show and we even have a vibrating, heated chair massager.”
To sedate or not to sedate
When it comes to sedation during dental procedures, we’re a little different in that we don’t offer laughing gas (nitrous oxide) or IV sedation.
“We have found that most of our patients really don’t need those additional measures. [When] they come in, [they may be] a little bit nervous and anxious at first, but once we talk to them and listen and we address all their issues, we’re able to get them [relaxed] to [where we can] do their dental work and not have them take all of those additional medications,” explains Dr. Brayer.
Of course, if a patient is particularly anxious or nervous, we can give them an oral sedative to help them be calm and more relaxed.
Choose the right dentist for you
If you have anxiety about going to the dentist, one of the best things you can do is find a dentist that suits your personality and temperament and who you feel comfortable talking with and asking questions.
“I would say just research. Do your research and then call. The call will help you to get the vibe of the office and then go in for a meet and greet,” Tiffany Feger suggests.
“We offer free consultations [to all of our new patients]. Once you come in, you can see it’s actually fun to go to the dentist. You’ll be our friend and we’ll do fun little TikTok dances sometimes, or fun social media posts. We have fun, and we take time during your appointment, so we get to know you. You’ll feel at home, you will be happy to go, and it’s just like a wonderful place to be.”
Creating Smiles is one of Pinellas County’s leading providers of cosmetic and general dentistry services, including Invisalign, teeth whitening, dental implants, and oral cancer screenings. To schedule your in-office or virtual new patient consultation please call our St. Petersburg office (727-323-0377) or Clearwater office (727-791-8823).