For most people, going to the dentist is not a particularly enjoyable activity. While it is doubtful that going to the dentist is anyone’s favorite thing to do, many people can do it with little issue. However, for others, it can be downright terrifying.
If you find yourself in the latter category, you may want to consider the following tips to calm your anxiety so that you can still maintain a high level of dental hygiene.
1. Choose the Right Dentist
Just because a dentist is right around the corner from you does not mean that they are the right fit for your needs. Spend some extra time talking to dentists before choosing one. Make sure that they understand your fears and are compassionate. If a dentist blows you off or minimalizes your experiences, then you should look elsewhere. Ask your potential dentist how they handle appointment anxiety. Their answer can tell you a lot about whether they take it seriously or not.
2. Communicate Your Feelings Thoroughly
Make sure that your dentist knows exactly how you feel before the procedure and throughout it. Your dentist cannot read your mind so try to express yourself as best as you can and tell communicate any symptoms or concerns. During a check-up or procedure, consider utilizing hand signals so that they know when you need a break or feel uncomfortable during treatment.
You can also ask your dentist to explain everything they are doing as they go along so that you are not surprised. However, this approach isn’t for everyone. Some people prefer to distract themselves from everything that is happening. It is completely up to you. If you are scared of pain, then it may be helpful to know what is happening so that you can prepare yourself.
3. Listen to Music
Listening to calming music you enjoy is a great way to distract yourself from what is going on. Focusing on a song will also prevent your brain from running wild with intrusive thoughts. If music doesn’t do the trick for you, you can also try an audiobook or meditation tape. Having something in your ears that isn’t the whirring of dental equipment will likely help you to relax.
4. Remember to Breathe
When we get anxious one of the first things we forget to do is breathe. Thinking about your breath will help you to realize that you are okay. Actively paying attention to your breath will also ensure that it does not become subconsciously short or too fast. If you control your breathing, you can make sure that your body doesn’t panic unnecessarily. It may help to count your breaths or count how many seconds you breathe in and out.
5. Don’t Arrive Too Early
For many people, sitting in the waiting room of the dentist’s office for long periods of times only exacerbates their anxiety. Try not arriving at your appointment until just before its scheduled time so that you can go right into the exam room shortly after you get there. If you allow yourself too much time to think about what you are going to go through, then you may talk yourself out of it. Waiting rooms are hotbeds for anxiety to many. However for others, getting there early can help them to calm down before their appointment begins. Try to find what works for you.
Going to the dentist can be nerve-wracking, but hopefully, the above techniques give you the confidence to find a routine that works for you and allows you to receive the care you need. If you are experiencing any dentist-appointment anxiety at all, feel free to talk to us at Hampton’s Dental. We have been working for twenty-five years to help all our patients feel as comfortable as possible whether they are coming in for a routine cleaning or a root canal.