If the thought of going to the dentist makes you feel stressed, anxious or fearful, you are not alone. Dental anxiety is common. It can be caused by negative past experiences, fear of pain or injections, invasion of personal space or anesthetic side effects.
While experiencing these kinds of feelings is normal and understandable, if these feelings are intense enough, they could make you either delay or cancel routine or necessary dental procedures. Doing this isn’t good for your oral health and can even exacerbate any existing dental issues.
Because dental anxiety can be a real issue for many people, we’ve put together a few tips on how you can cope and ease these feelings to receive the dental care you need.
1. Speak Up
If you experience dental anxiety, it’s important to speak up and share your feelings. After all, your dental hygenist and dentist won’t be able to help if they don’t know that you are dealing with anxious thoughts before or during your treatment.
Let both your hygenist and dentist know how you’re feeling on the day of your appointment and discuss ways to make the appointment more positive and pleasant. Asking plenty of questions and coming up with a break signal can help calm your nerves and make the experience more comfortable.
2. Distract Yourself
Whether in the waiting room or while you are receiving your dental care, distracting yourself can help take your mind off the anxious thoughts you are experiencing.
If you like reading, bring along your favorite book or magazine or try listening to an audiobook. You can also create a playlist ahead of time with your favorite songs or some calming instrumentals. Many dentist rooms have televisions, allowing you to watch your favorite show or DVD while you receive your dental care. It can also be helpful to bring along a friend or family member for support and so you have someone to talk to while you wait.
3. Try Stress-Relieving Techniques
Practicing stress-relieving techniques can help calm your nerves and make you less anxious about your dental appointment. Try a deep breathing exercise — inhale deeply for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds then slowly exhale for eight seconds. Repeating this breathing technique can ease tension and help you relax.
4. Know the Facts
While these tips are designed to ease dental anxiety, it’s important to keep in mind that dentistry has changed a lot over the years. Today, there are less invasive options compared to some long-gone dental procedures of the past. Don’t let a poor experience in your past stop you from getting the care you need.
Many offices will even offer dental sedation services to patients who are having a difficult time managing their nervousness or anxiety. Three of the most common dental sedation services techniques include:
- Nitrous oxide sedation (“laughing gas”).
- IV sedation.
- Oral sedation.
Once receiving sedation, you will feel either reduce or eliminated anxiety while receiving dental care.
Most people are candidates for sedation and it available for all types of appointments. We encourage talking to your dentist on which one would best fit your needs and provide you a more comfortable and positive dental appointments.
Receive Compassionate Care at Dental Choice
Here at Dental Choice, our entire dental team always strives to make your dental experience positive and stress-free. Whether you need a regular cleaning or are interested in cosmetic dentistry, we’ll work with you and your family to deliver compassionate care.
To request an appointment, contact us today.