Dental anxiety is more common than you might expect. Dental anxiety can build up from a series of uncomfortable visits to the dentist as a child or by pop culture depictions of painful or scary dental procedures. However, avoiding dental appointments is unwise because the health consequences can be severe.
After all, tooth problems can worsen without treatment. You can lose teeth if bacteria manage to overcome your natural defenses. Even worse, tooth problems can spread to the rest of the mouth and beyond. Regular check-ups are critical for protecting your well-being. Luckily, you have many ways to soothe your dental anxiety if you’re concerned about dental visits.
1. Tell Your Dentist
Dentists often work with people experiencing dental anxiety. As a result, they tend to develop strategies for providing proper dental care while working around such issues. All you have to do is speak up about your dental anxiety so your healthcare providers don’t have to guess about it. Knowing that your dentist and their assistants know how to care for those with dental anxiety can help ease any embarrassment about it.
2. Ask Questions
Knowing what to expect can give you control over the situation. This can help you calm down on its own. Moreover, knowing what to expect gives you time to get a grip on your nerves. Don’t hesitate to ask if you’re unsure about any part of your appointment. Not knowing something can make it more intimidating than it is in truth.
3. Voice Your Discomfort
Your expectations can hurt you. For instance, people sometimes fail to speak up when they feel pain or discomfort during a dental appointment because they think that’s normal. This isn’t the case. Dentistry isn’t supposed to hurt under normal circumstances. If you experience pain or discomfort, speak up so your dentist can know what’s happening.
4. Ask Your Dentist About Breaks
Different people handle difficult experiences in different ways. Some people prefer to rush through everything in a single go. If you want the opposite, consider asking your dentist to break up your appointment into smaller, more bearable segments. Breaks can give you opportunities to gather yourself when you’re stressed.
5. Ask Your Dentist About Pain-Relief Methods
People sometimes use over-the-counter pain relief medication before an appointment to reduce pain, discomfort, and inflammation. Always ask your dentist about pain relief before you do so for two reasons. First, this reduces the chances of unexpected complications. Second, dentists have many ways to provide pain-free dentistry, ranging from laughing gas to general and local anesthesia. This allows them to prevent any pain more effectively than over-the-counter methods.
6. Bring a Friend or Family Member
Everyone needs support sometimes. Don’t be shy about bringing a friend or family member if you have dental anxiety. Having friendly company is one of the best ways to boost your morale. For example, you can have your friend or family member discuss your dental issues with your dentist if you’re embarrassed or they could get crucial information from your dentist if you’re using laughing gas or your anxiety is too high for you to be in the right mind to process that information.
7. Distract Yourself
Constantly thinking about something you’re concerned about can make you more anxious. Consider distractions to keep your mind off of things. For instance, ask your dentist if you can listen to music while they work on your teeth. Earbuds and headphones are also helpful for keeping your mind off of things while you wait. Alternatively, many dentists have televisions in each room that you can use to watch a comfort show or movie to keep your anxiety levels low.
8. Practice Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques enable you to maintain the right state of mind. Luckily, some can be practiced anytime and anywhere. Deep breathing is as easy as breathing slowly, feeling yourself fill with air, and then releasing your breath slowly. You might be able to enhance the effect by imagining a focus word or even soothing imagery.
Contact us at Farhoumand Dentistry if you’re worried about your dental visit. We are ready to address your concerns so you can get proper dental care without being too stressed.