4 Tips For Ensuring A More Positive Experience At The Dentist's Office

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Visiting your dentist for major procedures probably doesn't top of your list of favorite activities — especially if you're doing it wrong. There are smarter and less-smart approaches to scheduling and paying for dental work, and a little forethought can go a long way toward improving your experience at the dental office. Here are four tips to try the next time you need to have your mouth refurbished.

1. Ask as Many Questions as Possible

Dental procedures seem that much more scary and intimidating when their details remain shrouded in mystery. The more complex the procedure, the less you may actually understand about how it will be implemented, making it harder for you to anticipate what's to come. You can cast those concerns aside by asking your dentist as many questions as possible beforehand. Find out how many visits the entire procedure will take, what changes will be made to your mouth, how to eat comfortably following the procedure, and what to expect regarding total healing time. Once you understand the nitty-gritty of your dental work, you'll feel more empowered to respond accordingly.

2. Schedule Reconstructive Work Strategically

Planning major dental reconstructions to suit your schedule or calendar can prove trickier than you might think. If you crack a molar during the month of December, for instance, you may decide to get it crowned early in the month so that you can enjoy the Christmas holidays without hindrance. But will your dentist have time to install a permanent crown before you fly out to see Grandma? If you only have time to receive a temporary crown before you leave, you may find yourself worrying about that fragile, weakly adhered tooth replacement all through the holiday season — to the point that you can't eat some of the holiday goodies presented to you. In such a situation, you'd be better advised to make sure you can get the entire crown procedure completed before you leave, or possibly wait until you return from the holidays to start on it.

3. Beat Phobias Through Sedation

Many people put off much-needed care, and even routine exams, out of a longstanding dental phobia. A fear of the dentist is nothing to be ashamed of — but it is an issue that needs to be conquered somehow. The longer you delay necessary dental care, the more diseased or damaged your mouth will get, which may lead to serious systemic health complications (not to mention serious pain every time you chew). To get around this dental roadblock, consider asking your dentist for some form of sedation. You may be able to receive an oral sedative (which you take before your appointment), "laughing gas" while you're in the dentist's chair, or possibly even IV sedation. Most dental sedation doesn't knock you unconscious; it simply relaxes you enough that you can have the dental procedure you need without anxiety or distress.

4. Look Into Dental Payment Plans

Financial concerns can serve as another source of anxiety that keeps some people from scheduling necessary dental work. While there's no getting around the fact that dental procedures cost money, keep in mind that a preventative or early-stage treatment now could save you a great deal of expense later, after your condition has worsened. You may also have the option of a dental repayment plan. Many dental offices provide their own credit programs that enable you to make easy, no-interest monthly payments over a predetermined period. Others take a variety of dental insurance plans. You might even be able to schedule the first phase of your dental work at the end of one insurance year, and then do the second phase the following year after your insurance eligibility has been renewed.

You can make your time at the dental office easier to manage in a number of ways — all you have to do is make the proper plans. Talk to your dentist about how you can optimize your dental experience!