Many people have had a painful experience at the dentist’s office. When this happens, it’s only natural that you may feel slightly apprehensive about going back. However, when an apprehensive feeling goes more towards anxiety and avoidance, then it’s time to look at what is causing the root of that fear.
Those who feel anxious at the thought of visiting their dentist, even if it is just for routine check-ups, may be more likely to put off those all-important appointments. By doing so, you can run the risk of dental disease and decay, as your dentist will not have the opportunity to check your oral health on a regular basis. If you’re feeling “the fear,” what can you do?
1) Realize that this is an essential part of your health routine.
While you may be afraid of visiting your dentist, putting it off can only result in poor oral health down the line. When you wait to get your teeth seen to, you allow any decay or cavities to spread through your mouth. Additionally, dental health has been heavily linked to heart health, making it an important part of your overall health routine.
2) Speak to your dentist about your anxiety.
Though it may seem like it, you’re not the first person to be afraid of the dentist. Your dentist has likely seen this sort of thing before, and by being aware of your anxiety they can offer more things to help you. For example, playing soft music to distract you or even watching your favorite movie can help a lot when dealing with your fear. There are also other options that you may not have been aware of that your dental professional can tell you about.
3) Look into sedation dentistry techniques.
Sedation dentistry techniques are most commonly used to help patients who have fear or anxiety through most dental procedures. This can vary anywhere from “laughing gas” (Nitrous Oxide) to the use of prescriptions such as Valium or Xanax. Speak to your dentist to see what kind of sedation is available and would be best for your procedure.
4) Learn to breathe.
When you’re fearful or anxious, your breathing can speed up, causing your heart to race. Learn to take calming breaths through your nose, letting them out slowing through your mouth. You can do this before, during and after your treatment to help alleviate stress naturally.
5) Seek out dentists who specialize in anxious patients.
There are dentists who understand about the anxiety you’re facing, and can help you through your procedure every step of the way. They can offer any variety of methods to help you make your dental health more routine in your life and not something to fear. When you find a dentist that understands your anxiety, you can feel a lot more willing to go to your regular checkups and deal with those little problems that you’ve been putting off.