Everybody handles stress a little differently. Some of us turn to meditation and others turn to friends for reassurance. Dental anxiety and phobia is one such stress that has some individuals a little worked up. Unfortunately, avoiding the dentist because of anxiety can result in a complete neglect for dental care outside of brushing and flossing at home. Here are some practical ways to combat the fear of heading to the dentist.
The most common issue when seeing the dentist or any doctor is to not voice how you’re feeling and to stay silent the entire appointment! Say how the appointment makes you feel, express how it is effecting your nerves, and allow your dentist to work on reassuring you while giving you options of what to expect during your visit.
When you arrive to your appointment, focus your energy on breathing. When people are nervous or anxious, they tend to hold their breath and not breathe naturally. By focusing on slow and regular breathing, your heartbeat will regulate and you’ll be able to feel more in control of your body.
Choosing an appointment time that will be more laid back can significantly help with your nerves. If you’ve scheduled a dentist appointment between two meetings in your workday, you’re more prone to worry, stress, and making sure you’re done on time. Instead, choose a day of the week where you have minimal things going on so as not to add to your stress.
If you’re worried about pain, ask your dentist about options to reduce the pain amount you’re experiencing. Some use topical anesthetics to numb the area in the mouth or gums where they’ll be working, others use intravenous sedation by injecting a sedative into a patient’s arm, and others use nitrous oxide (laughing gas) which is inhaled through a mask.
No matter your reason for nerves at the dentist, be sure to talk through it. By being open and direct about your nerves, you’ll be able to easily find the right choice for you to relax.