7 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of Going to the Dentist
Do you know that up to 40 million Americans avoid visiting the dentist due to anxiety and fear? Oral health is crucial and plays a vital role in your life because it is directly connected to your overall health.
Moreover, your smile is another significant factor that could determine the direction of your life. When your teeth and gums are healthy, you can eat your favorite foods and enjoy life without any fear of toothaches.
However, many people with oral problems have allowed dental anxiety and fear to prevent them from pursuing their dazzling smiles.
Some anticipate pain and other worries, including fear of needles, fear of the unknown, and sensitivity to scraping sounds.
But there is good news: dental anxiety or fear can be managed, just like any other phobia can be. And you can be in absolute control over your dental anxiety.
Here are seven ways to overcome your fear of the dentist:
1. Find the Right Dentist
First of all, finding the right dentist is highly crucial to your dental health. Good dentists spend time explaining every procedure to you and will offer several options to minimize anxiety, excitement, discomfort, and pain before, during, and after completing each appointment.
One suggestion is to find a family dental practice that treats both children and adults. To find the best practice, search for a dental website that displays testimonials from happy patients and makes you feel like part of their dental family, such as this dentist in Greely, Co.
2. Schedule Your Dental Appointment When the Office is Less Busy
At times, a busy dental office has this crippling effect on patients, thereby making the visit more overwhelming.
Therefore, the next time you book an appointment with a dentist, ask to know the times or days when the office is less busy.
You should also consider fixing your appointment such that you can arrive early and get your oral procedure done with.
This will do away with the fear or anxiety that develops as you wait for your turn with the dentist.
3. Get Familiar with Dental Tools
Many people are naturally afraid of sharp and pointy things. And the fear is aggravated when they find that those things will find their way right into their mouths.
You do not have to get unnecessarily worked up before or during your visit to the dentist. The next time you enter your dentist’s office, you may ask the dental practitioner if it is possible to look at or hold the dental equipment before your oral procedure.
This is because you want to familiarize yourself with the dental tools. And caring dentists usually understand the phobia that many people have.
They are more than willing to explain what every tool is used for and why they need to be used in your oral procedure.
And there is nothing wrong in reading up on the numerous dental instruments or equipment commonly used for oral procedures. Google them and get to know each dental tool.
4. Employ Relaxation Techniques
Meditation and deep breathing just before your appointment at the dental office can significantly help you feel less anxious.
Start by taking five minutes to sit still and meditate by practicing deep, controlled breathing. Deep breaths naturally lower the blood pressure and heart rate. These are vital for anyone who wants to avoid a panic attack.
Visualization techniques have also been proven to work for people who are unusually tense when visiting the dentist.
This technique involves closing your eyes and imagining yourself in a very calm or serene and relaxing environment.
You can even practice visualization techniques before, during, and after your dental appointment. And you will be pleasantly surprised at the profound effect it will have on you.
5. Request In-Office Sedation for Relaxation
Some dental offices offer in-office sedation such as injectable local anesthesia or nitrous oxide. Therefore, if you harbor a crippling dental fear, you can request for some form of sedation.
This will enable you to have a more pleasant experience as you keep your dental appointment.
Nitrous oxide is an excellent option for you if you have trouble relaxing during an appointment with your dentist.
It is potent enough to dull the edges of your anxiety while you take care of your dental health.
6. Do Not Dwell on the Next Appointment
Dwelling on ‘what ifs’ is another major cause of anxiety and fear. Although getting informed or educated about oral procedures and what you should expect in your case makes a lot of sense, avoid them totally if the research will upset you.
Spend time doing things that will distract your mind from the upcoming appointment. For example, play computer games or watch movies with friends.
7. Listen to an Audiobook or Music
The general ambiance in dental offices is more than enough to trigger feelings of anxiety. If the sounds of dental drills or clinking of metallic dental tools get to you, consider listening to an audiobook or music on your smartphone via earbuds.
You do not have to be anxious, terrified or helpless when heading over to the local dentist. Most well-trained and certified dentists and the entire dental team are always supportive of every patient.
And this is because they know how crucial dental care is to your general health. The #1 mission of every good dentist is to provide customized care to every individual.
This is why it is so important to be honest or open about your dental anxiety. This will enable you to utilize the support methods that work best for you.
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