Most of us get a little anxious before a dentist appointment… Some of us more than others. It can be so difficult dealing with debilitating levels of anxiety about something so necessary for general health. You know you have to go, but it is just so terrifying. Below are some tips and tricks for dealing with dental anxiety.
First, ask yourself what exactly about going to the dentist is making you anxious? Figuring this out can help you find ways of minimizing your stress. If it’s the sounds, you can try using headphones; if it’s the bright lights, put on some sunglasses; and if it’s finances, consult with your insurance and/or dentist to work out some kind of payment plan.
Sometimes, dealing with dental anxiety comes from a bad experience… Maybe this happened as a child, or the last time you went to the dentist. It’s important to realize that not all dentists are the same, and that not every dentist is going to give you the same experience. Look for the dentist that is right for you, and your appointments will go so much better.
Here are just a few more tips for dealing with dental anxiety…
- Bring a friend or family member you trust. Having someone there to squeeze a hand or just help you not feel alone can be so calming and helpful.
- Ask your dentist to be vocal about each step, and give you a scale of pain you may experience if you’re getting a shot. This will keep you in the loop of what’s going on, so you’re not wondering and building up more anxiety in your mind
- See about the possibility of sedation during whatever procedure you need. Sometimes, dealing with dental anxiety can be overwhelming and you just need to not be fully aware during your visit. Speak with your dentist and explain your situation and I’m sure they will do what they can to give you the care that you need.
- Bring something with you that you can keep your hands busy with. Get a stress ball, fidget spinner, or some other kind of anxiety reducing gadget. This can help you keep your hands busy and give you something to focus on besides the anxiety.
- Learn about some meditation and breathing techniques that reduce stress and anxiety. Take a moment to think about something that relaxes you, breathe deeply, and also remember that going to the dentist is actually good for you.
- In some instances, maybe dealing with dental anxiety can’t happen without outside help. That is okay. Consider seeing a therapist to help you. Dentists and therapists alike both want to see you healthy and happy, so utilize their knowledge for yourself.
I hope these tips have helped you with dealing with dental anxiety! Remember to keep up with personal dental care and regular dental visits; and always communicate with your dentist if you are feeling stressed. They will be happy to go the extra mile to help smooth out your experience.