Tips for Easing Dental Fears, Anxiety, and Stress
It is common to feel nervous about going to visit the dentist. Some studies suggest up to 40 million Americans avoid the dentist altogether. Many people are fearful they will experience pain during the visit. Others have avoided the dentist for so long, they are worried about what the dentist might find.
Whatever the cause of your stress, the right dental team will ensure you are taken care of. The longer you avoid going to see the dentist, the greater the risk of developing serious dental issues. When serious dental issues occur, the can be costly and time intensive to properly treat. Regular visits to the dentist can improve the entire process from scheduling to the appointment itself. If you struggle with paralyzing fear of your next dentist appointment or are just slightly apprehensive, the below strategies can help ease your anxiety and ensure your next visit is a positive experience.
Referrals from friends & family
Recommendations from your friends and family can help put your mind at ease. If you don’t have a dentist, check with people you know to find a provider who has positive reviews. Word of mouth is an excellent way to find a good dentist.
Search for dentists online
Most dentists have a website where you can get to know their practice, the different services they offer, get to know the staff and may even provide reviews from other patients. If you are able to find a few dentists may work well for you, don’t be afraid to schedule a consultation before you commit to an appointment.
Communicate your feelings
After you select a dentist, it is important to communicate and be transparent with the dentist and staff. It is common for patients to be nervous or feel anxious. This can help the team take any extra precautions to ensure you are comfortable. Discuss your fears before you undergo a procedure and be sure to let them know if you experience any pain or discomfort. Communication will help you have a more relaxed and pleasant experience.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions as it can be helpful to understand the process. Once your dentist has created your treatment plan, ask the dentist to thoroughly review the procedures. Knowing what to expect in advance can alleviate your concerns. Discuss signals or how you will communicate with the dentist while they are working. As an example, you can raise your hand if you need to take a break.
Tell the dentist if you are worried about your visit. Depending on your level of anxiety, the dentist can prescribe nitrous oxide or other medications to help you relax. A good dentist will ensure you are comfortable and take efforts to lower your stress.
Focus on cleansing breaths with slow, even inhales and exhales during your procedures. Many people hold their breath and get tense when they are nervous which lowers oxygen levels and can lead to increased feelings of panic. Concentrate on relaxing your muscles.
Another helpful solution can be to wear headphones and listen to music during your visit. This can be especially helpful if the drill upsets you.
Be mindful and imagine that you are in your happy place. This can be done by visualizing yourself at the beach or in a secluded garden.