If you shudder at the thought of going to dentist, or jump at the sound of a dental drill, you’re suffering from a case of dental anxiety. The good news is that you’re not alone, many people fear going to the dentist. The bad news is that it’s definitely not doing your teeth any favours – dental check-ups play an important part in maintaining your dental health. So, for all those who suffer with dental anxiety, we’ve come up with some helpful tips to get you back in the chair!
‘Communication is key’ – this is a sound piece of advice for lots of things, including your fear of the dentist. If you’re feeling anxious or worried before an appointment, it’s important that you speak with your dentist about it. We’re very familiar with dental anxiety and the best ways to help you through it.
If you can tell us the source of your fear (the noise of the drill, the light above your head, the uncomfortable sensation, the injection) we can prepare ways to best deal with it.
It’s also vital to ask questions because if you know what’s going to happen, you can remove the fear of the unknown and decide the best way to prepare for the procedure.
Finally, one of the best communication tips of all is to agree on a signal. Raising your hand during a procedure, for example, is a great way to let your dentist know that you need to take a break.
Taking your mind off an uncomfortable procedure may seem like an impossibility for those that struggle with dental anxiety. However, there are a few handy tips that can help you to remove yourself from the situation.
Bring your headphones and listen to your favourite music, audiobook, podcast or radio show. This will remove any sounds of dental tools and you’ll feel more relaxed with something personal playing in your ear.
Occupy your hands because as long as your face and mouth are still, we really don’t mind! You can use a stress ball, click your fingers or play with a fidget spinner. This will help you to focus on something else and relieve your anxiety.
Go into Zen-mode
Being relaxed is a combination of mind and body. If you can control both, you’ll enter into what we like to call the zen-mode – a place where no amount of dental work could ever interrupt your relaxation. Here’s a few ways to get you there.
Time your breaths. Inhale slowly for between three and five counts and then exhale for the same amount. You can do this in the waiting room, in the dentist chair and during breaks from the procedure, if you need them.
Do a body release. Concentrate on relaxing your muscles from your head to your toes or vice versa. Tensing in the dentist chair will definitely not help any anxious feelings. Focus on one body part at a time and make sure it’s relaxed before moving onto the next. For example, you can focus on your toes, then your calves, then your thighs and so on.
Dental anxiety is common – it’s just about managing the symptoms. There are plenty of ways to alleviate the feelings of stress that come with dental anxiety, you just need to find something that works for you. The next time you’re feeling like you want to leap out of the dentist, try one of our tips and we’re sure you’ll feel a lot better. Just try to remember, visiting the dentist is a vital part of dental health and it keeps those pearly whites, white and pearly! Book an appointment today!