Dental technology has improved by leaps and bounds over the past several years, making a trip to the dentist nowhere near as nerve-wracking as it used to be. Even dreaded procedures like fillings are much faster and simpler nowadays. Still, sitting in that chair can bring on the butterflies as you wonder what the dentist will find and what effect all of the machinery might be having on you. Here are a few ways to make the appointment much more comfortable.
Neck and Knee Pillows
Dentist's chairs may be padded, but lying back with your head and jaw in bizarre positions can become uncomfortable after a while. Ask the dentist or dental assistant if they have pillows available for your neck, plus a cushion to place under your knees. Those can help keep your lower back from aching after time stuck in the chair. In fact, call ahead to ask; if the office doesn't provide them, you may want to bring your own. Just let them know you're trying to keep your back from hurting during the procedure.
Many dental offices now use digital x-ray machines that take x-rays without requiring that you go into a special booth. The dental assistant covers you with a lead-lined blanket or apron and takes the pictures. However, that blanket doesn't cover your neck, which means your neck can be unnecessarily exposed to radiation. Ask for a thyroid collar when you have dental x-rays done. This is a small collar that covers your neck, giving you extra protection. Even if you aren't particularly worried about dental x-ray exposure, it is always good to have extra protection.
Earphones and Music
The sounds of dental procedures can be just as nerve-wracking as the dental problem you're dealing with. Instead of forcing yourself to sit through those minutes of drilling and cracking, bring headphones with you so you can turn up music or environmental sounds to drown out the dental sounds. Some offices even keep their own headphones and radios available for patients. Do try to listen to something noisy, like rain sounds or music; calming ambient music might sound nice, but it may not block out the sounds enough to be of use.
With these cushions, collars, and radios, you should be able to get through any dental procedure just fine. If you have further concerns, you can always talk to the dentist before the procedure begins. Contact a dental office like the Apollo Dental Center for additional information.