Did you know that some people love coming to the dentist? Yes, it is possible to look forward to getting your teeth clean! However, at our office, we understand that this might not be everyone’s favorite place to be, and we realize that dental anxiety is a real thing for some of our patients.
Have you ever felt anxious before your dental appointment? If you have, it’s possible you were experiencing dental anxiety. Dental anxiety is often traced back to a previously painful dental experience. Sometimes, dental anxiety hits people because it’s been a long time since visiting the dentist.
Please understand that there is no need for you to feel embarrassed if you experience dental anxiety when it’s time for you to come to the dentist. As your dental team, we want your worries to be eased. The next time you feel anxiety creeping in, you can try any or all of these coping strategies to deal with dental anxiety.
It can sometimes feel intimidating to share your dental anxieties with other people, but it can be a relief to get it off your chest! It also helps your dentist and staff to be able to treat you better if they are aware of your needs.
- When scheduling an appointment – feel free to share with the receptionist any of your concerns. For example, suppose you have dental anxiety. In that case, the receptionist can make necessary adjustments to make sure you get with the best clinician for your appointment and that your appointment time is an appropriate length.
- Ask questions – Sometimes, having your questions answered can help to alleviate any worry or uncertainty that you may be feeling.
- Let your dentist know if you are in pain. They may be able to give you more anesthetic or even provide a level of sedation to help keep you more comfortable.
Distraction can be a valuable tool in getting through a dental appointment. You may feel like the only thing that you can think about is how you wish you weren’t at the dentist, but these simple tricks might be just enough to get your focus onto something else.
- Fidget toys – You may think of the squishy grip ball as a toy for the eight-year-old, but they have proven to distract adults quite well. Don’t be afraid to try it out!
- Headphones – Wearing headphones can be a great option, mainly since they help silence the buzzing and grinding noises that often come from the dental tools. Also, try listening to your favorite songs or podcast, and you will probably be surprised how quickly your appointment is done!
- Dream – Think of a place that makes you happy and put yourself in that scene. For example, are you lying on the beach with warm sun rays shining on your face?
Use Mindfulness Techniques
Using breathing and relaxation techniques, you might be able to allow yourself to relax while in the dental chair.
Focusing on your breaths going in and out can help to take your mind off the dental procedure being done.
Also, taking deep inhales and exhales can be beneficial for relaxation.
The biggest thing is trying to allow your muscles to relax and not tense up while you’re in the dental chair. Your jaw will thank you if you can relax during your procedure, as this allows better blood flow throughout your body!
Sedation dentistry is dentistry in which the dentist uses sedatives before or during the dental procedure to help you relax. This can be very beneficial in helping you receive the dental care you need, even if you are very anxious.
Sometimes, dental anxiety can be so great that it keeps patients from seeking the care they need. This can be a big problem because needs don’t get taken care of, and emergency problems can result.
There are different levels and ways to receive sedation through an inhaled gas, a simple pill, or medication administered through an IV. The type that is right for you is determined by factors like the type of dental treatment needed and your overall health. Your dentist can help you determine if sedation could be a beneficial option for you and which option would be best.
Dental anxiety shouldn’t keep you from having your dental needs met. On the contrary, talking to your dentist about your treatment needs and sedation options can have you smiling like never before!