Considering how vital it is to have a health set of pearly whites, it’s upsetting that thousands of patients involuntarily face anxiety at the dentist.
Anxiety in general is a very hard state of mind to overcome.
Fortunately, I’ve got you covered with tips and tricks to reduce and eventually overcome your dental anxiety.
Discuss your dental anxiety with a loved one.
Whether it be a good friend, significant other, or a family member, talking to someone you love and trust about your dental anxiety can certainly ease the anxious mind.
Sometimes all you need is affirmation that you have nothing at all to worry about when going to the dentist.
Practice proper breathing techniques.
Weeks before the appointment, start working on proper breathing techniques. When you face anxiety, what often happens is that your breathing is either very shallow, inconsistent, or even stops for quite a few seconds.
Improper breathing leads to worsened anxiety, the potential for an anxiety attack, and may even cause you to faint in severe cases. For these reasons, learning to take slow, deep breathes while you’re nervous is key to dealing with your dental anxiety without making matters worse.
Don’t arrive at the dentist on an empty stomach.
Sure, when you’re anxious, the last thing you may want to do is eat. However, going to a dental appointment on an empty stomach, unless advised by the dentist, is never a good thing.
The goal should be to eat a tooth-friendly, healthy, balanced meal or snack beforehand, to fill your stomach and to provide your brain with the nutrients it needs to properly deal with your anxious state.
Instead of dreading at the thought of your next dental visit or thinking of everything that could possibly go wrong, think of the positive that could come out of your visit.
If you’re just going in for a cleaning/checkup, tell yourself that you’ll come out with prettier, cleaner, and healthier teeth. If you’re going in for a dental procedure such as a root canal or a filling, tell yourself that you’ll leave with better health and less oral pain, for instance.
Don’t underestimate the power of music.
Find a happy, relaxing song you like, and listen to it when you’re in a positive and calm state of mind. Listen to this same song the day of your dentist appointment and perhaps even during the visit.
Doing this will help to bring back that calm state of mind you once had before arriving at the dentist. Listening to music during the dentist appointment is also great if your dental anxiety is mainly caused by the fear of the sound of drills and other dental tools.
Tell your dentist about your dental anxiety.
When your dentist is aware of your dental anxiety, the appointment will go much easier and at a pace that works best for you. Discuss with the dentist the things that would make your dental appointment go more smoothly.
This may mean having a conversation about a dental procedure before it happens, opting for dental sedation, or coming up with a cue for when you want the dentist to stop the cleaning or procedure and give you a bit of a break when severe anxiety erupts.
After a successful day of surviving the dentist, it only makes sense to reward yourself. Even before going to the dentist, think of a reward you could give yourself.
This will help distract your dental anxiety during the appointment as well as get you excited to get the appointment over with and out of the way. Rewards can be anything from a night out with a good friend to a new piece of jewelry.