Are you one of the many people who feel anxious or fearful when it comes to going to the dentist? Dental anxiety can be a big barrier to taking care of your oral health, but it doesn’t have to hold you back. Here are 7 tips for overcoming dental anxiety that might help get you in the chair.
1. Talk to Your Dentist About Dental Anxiety
One of the best ways to overcome dental anxiety is by having honest conversations with your dentist about your fears and concerns. Dental professionals understand that not everyone enjoys visiting them and will do what they can to make sure you're comfortable throughout your appointment. They may also offer additional services such as sedation dentistry, which would help you feel more relaxed during your visit.
2. Prepare for Your Dental Appointment
You can reduce your anxiety before an appointment by taking the time to prepare. Make sure you have all the necessary paperwork filled out and bring any medications that may be relevant to your treatment plan. You should also ask questions about what will happen at your appointment and make sure that you fully understand the procedure beforehand. This will give you a sense of control over the situation and help ease some of your worries or fears.
3. Find Distractions During Treatment
Distractions can be very helpful when it comes to tackling dental anxiety, so find something that works for you. Bring music, watch a movie on your phone, or focus on your breathing to help take your mind off of the procedure. Dental offices often have headphones available, so you can listen to music or a podcast during the appointment.
4. Arrive Early for Your Dental Appointment
Arriving early for your dental appointment can reduce stress and create more space between you and any potential triggers of anxiety at the office. Give yourself enough time to fill out paperwork and get comfortable in the chair before treatment begins. This will give you more control over the situation and make it easier to stay relaxed throughout your visit.
5. Practice Positive Self-Talk
If positive self-talk is something that helps you when feeling anxious, use it! Remind yourself that this is temporary and that you will come out of the appointment feeling much better. You can also talk yourself through any fear or anxiety-provoking situations so that they become less intimidating. This technique can be especially helpful during a procedure, such as a root canal or filling, when there are moments of discomfort.
6. Stick to Your Dental Appointment Schedule
Missing dental appointments can make it harder to overcome dental anxiety in the long run. It’s important to stick to your schedule and make sure you don’t skip too many visits, as this could lead to more serious issues in the future. If you do need to reschedule an appointment for any reason, set another date right away so that you don't fall too far behind.
7. Seek Dental Anxiety Treatment
If your dental anxiety persists despite trying the above tips, it’s important to seek professional help. There are doctors who specialize in treating dental anxiety and can provide you with tips and techniques for managing your fear. Sedation dentistry is also an option for those who need a bit more help getting through their appointment.
Q: How can I reduce my anxiety before a dental appointment?
A: Preparing for your dental appointment ahead of time can be very helpful in reducing anxiety. Make sure you have all the necessary paperwork filled out and don’t be afraid to ask questions about what will happen during the procedure. You should also arrive early so that you have enough time to get comfortable in the chair before treatment begins.
Q: What should I do if positive self-talk doesn’t help me manage my fear?
A: If positive self-talk isn’t working, it may be beneficial to seek professional help. Dental anxiety specialists are trained to provide patients with tips and techniques for managing fear, and sedation dentistry may also be an option if you need more help.
Q: What are some distractions I can bring to my dental appointment?
A: Bring music, watch a movie on your phone, or focus on your breathing to help take your mind off of the procedure. Dental offices often have headphones available, so you can listen to music or a podcast during the appointment.
It’s perfectly normal to feel anxious or fearful when it comes to visiting the dentist, but it doesn’t have to stop you from taking care of your oral health. By understanding what triggers your anxiety and applying these 7 tips, you can take control of your fears and start looking forward to appointments instead of feeling dread.