According to the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, almost 40 million Americans avoid a dental visit due to an overshadowing fear or anxiety. Dentists in Gardner, MA say that dental anxiety or phobia is one of the most common issues and if you are someone who experiences anxiety with just the thought of climbing in the dental chair, you are not alone.
Dental phobia or dental anxiety is a real issue that needs to be addressed as it can otherwise could lead to more serious oral health issues. People experience dental anxiety for different reasons. Dental anxiety may stem from the anticipation of pain, fear of needles, the sound of the dental drill, a previous bad experience, or simply from the anticipation of dental work inside your mouth. Additional anxiety-causing factors might include the sterile smell of the dental clinic or just the thought of interrupting your regular routine for a dental visit.
In most cases, dental anxiety might be preventing access to much-needed dental care which in turn would require more dental treatments. This makes managing dental anxiety more important. Dental anxiety is manageable with some effective techniques that would make dental care more comfortable and less stressful.
How to Manage Dental Anxiety?
If you feel some level of anxiety or nervousness before your dental visit, try these ways to manage your anxiety:
- Trust and communicate
The first and the foremost step to curb your anxiety is to open up about it to your dentist. Express your concern to the dental staff or the dentist. Good communication prior to the checkup or treatment with your dentist is very important for a smooth-sailing dental appointment. If you will share your fears with the dentist, he/she will acknowledge your situation and help you feel at ease while delivering optimal oral care.
- Focus on breathing slowly and regularly during the procedure
When people fear something, they naturally tend to hold their breath which further increases panic. An expert general dentist in Gardner suggests that you should focus on slow and regular breathing as done with meditation to reduce stress.
- Listen to your favourite music
Divert your attention to your favourite music so that the sound of dental work or the drill might not add to your nervousness.
- Follow a proper diet ahead of your visit
Avoid consuming caffeine and sugary foods before your dental appointment. Make sure you eat a high protein diet for the previous meal that will aid in creating a calming effect. Also, make sure to have a good night’s sleep the day before to help you feel relaxed.
- Decide hand signals with your dentist
During the dental procedure, you might not be able to speak freely out of discomfort or nervousness. Make sure you agree on some hand signals with your dentist in advance to communicate during the procedure. Whenever you feel uncomfortable, you could signal your dentist to stop or ease off.
- Choose a low-stress time for the appointment
Schedule your dental appointment during that time of the day when you are not under any kind of pressure or are likely to be rushed.
- Choose a reliable dentist
Ask friends and family members for reviews and recommendations. Choosing a trusted and reliable dentist will help you feel better as your oral health is in experienced hands and so you might be able to better relax.
We hope this post was helpful. If you have further queries regarding managing your fear, do not hesitate to drop us a line. We will be more than happy to help you achieve a healthy smile.