Being hesitant about scheduling your next dental visit is not an uncommon feeling. In fact, some studies have suggested that more than 60% of people have a fear of dentists and 3-16% of adults suffer from dental phobia.
It is important to take good care of your teeth and oral health. However, this can feel nearly impossible when you’re afraid of going to the dentist.
The good news is you don’t have to live life like this anymore. There are ways that you can build a healthy relationship with your view of dentist visits. Keep reading to check out these 9 tips to help you overcome your dental anxiety once and for all.
1. Research Procedures First
A lot of the time your dental anxiety comes from fear of the unknown. You might not know what to expect when you get there and this could create a lot of irrational thoughts about the dentist in your mind. This will definitely send you in the opposite direction of the dentist office.
Instead, do quick research beforehand on procedures that might seem a bit scary or overwhelming. Educate yourself on different ways to you can solve an oral issue and feel empowered to make your own choices. Be sure to get your information from credible sources, including some family and friends’ experiences.
2. Take Headphones to Your Visits
Most people walk into the dentist office and may not get nervous until they’re actually sitting in the chair. Then, the dental anxiety kicks in when they see the assistant lay out of the intimidating tools. And one tool in particular tends to trigger dental anxiety in most people – the drill.
Here’s one thing to remember: you’ll receive anesthesia to numb your mouth before the dentist actually begins any drilling. If the sound of the drill really gets to you then a quick fix is to pop some headphones in and try to zone out to your favorite jams or maybe a cool podcast. Dentists usually don’t mind this and will set you up with nonverbal signals to give them during the procedure.
3. Choose a Caring Dentist
This is one of the most important keys to overcoming your dental anxiety. Choosing a dentist that is caring, understanding, patient and knowledgeable of how to help patients overcome their fears can change the way you look at visits to the dentists.
A friendly dentist who shows professionalism and compassion is the best option for anyone experiencing fear of dentists. They will make sure you feel comfortable and consider your specific needs. Check out reviews on dentist websites and consider a consultation to decide whether or not a practitioner is a good fit for you.
4. Try Breathing Techniques & Meditation
If you’re experiencing dental anxiety when you try to make a dentist appointment or while you’re at the actual visit, consider performing some calming methods to help ease your fear. You can try meditation to relax your mind and body before you go to the visit. Breathing techniques can also be a big help for relaxing you mentally and physically.
It’s best to do breathing and meditation before the anxiety starts to set in. Using these methods as preventative tools can make a big difference in your dental visits and change your fearful thinking and emotions.
5. Figure Out the Cause of Your Fear
You should take a moment to reflect on the cause of your dental anxiety. You might be thinking this one is common sense – the dentist, duh! But pinpointing your actual fear might help you with getting over anxiety effectively than just saying it’s the dentist all together.
Ask yourself, is there a specific moment when your fear kicks in? If there is, then you can isolate this issue and work on it more intensively. Remember, you shouldn’t feel silly for taking more serious measures to conquer your fears and take more care of your dental hygiene.
6. Take Someone for Support
You don’t have to go into the situation alone. It might be best if you invite someone who is trusting and reliable to come along with you to offer support. They may be able to talk you through it, hold your hand or just lend their presence for extra comfort.
Don’t worry if you don’t have any family or friends that are able to make the visits. You can always ask one of the dental assistants or other available staff to lend a helping hand if your dental anxiety begins to peak. A caring team will always be willing to coach you through and stand by your side.
7. Ask the Dentist to Talk You Through It
It’s important that you speak up for yourself and explain to the dentist that you have some dental anxiety. Asking them to talk to you throughout the visit or give you a step-by-step picture before it begins can help to ease your mind about what’s going on. This is another way to conquer the fear of not knowing what you’re up against.
Again, this is why choosing a cooperative and caring dental practitioner who communicates well is important. You always want someone who will do what is best for each patient’s individual situation. Most dentists will be fine with taking pauses and breaks if you need it as well.
8. Request More Pain Medication
Some people just don’t have a high tolerance for pain and that’s alright. If this is you, then you may want to consider requesting higher doses of pain medication within the safest ranges.
Ask your dentist to talk to you about what’s available and which medication will decrease the pain as minimal as possible.
9. Seek a Professional for Help
It may be time to reach out to a professional for help if your dental anxiety becomes to big of an issue for you to address on your own. It can be difficult getting over anxiety and phobias on your own.
Don’t hesitate to ask an expert to help you get on the right track to removing your fear of dentists for good.
Ready to Overcome Your Dental Anxiety?
Your teeth can have a bright future if you become serious and active about overcoming your dental anxiety. It may not happen overnight but trying out these tips can help you begin.
If you’d like more assistance from a team of dental experts, don’t hesitate to contact us today!