Ways to manage your dental anxiety

Many people blame their fear of the dentist on a negative childhood dental experience or frightening stories that they’ve heard from others about dental treatment gone wrong, but there’s really more to fear of the dentist than that. Many dental anxieties are actually caused by some of our body’s natural reflexes.  No one likes to experience a loss of control. Dental treatment and the fact that someone has their hands in your mouth and near your face can trigger your body’s “fight or flight” response. Even though you logically know that your dentist is not going to harm you, subconsciously, many people worry about not being able to breathe, speak or be in control of the situation while undergoing dental treatment.

Dental anxiety is very real.  Some people experience greater challenges with this than others, but fortunately, there are things you can do and ways you can hope to help you get through your next dental checkup with a little more confidence.

Talk to your dentist

Take some time to talk to your dentist or oral health care provider about your anxieties or concerns. Be specific.  Does the angle of the chair in the office bother you? Would you be more comfortable in a different position during your teeth cleaning or treatment?  Do sights, smells or sounds bother you?  Are you afraid of unknown processes or procedures or are you concerned about potential pain or discomfort? Sometimes fear of the unknown is the biggest issue behind dental treatment fears.  Your oral care provider’s office will be able to talk you through treatments, procedures and options to help you feel more informed and confident during routine cleaning or needed treatments.

Bring some support

For some, it can be helpful to bring a friend or relative to your dental care visit for a little extra support and comfort. A good friend, your spouse or a relative can offer a reassuring presence and positive feedback that can help you feel a little more comfortable no matter if you’re in the office for a routine cleaning or a more complicated dental procedure.

Consider some distractions

No matter what it is that bothers you about the dentist’s office, you might find that some small and simple distractions are helpful in calming you and distracting you during your visit.  Bring some earbuds and your favorite music to listen to during your routine cleaning.  Bring a stress ball to squeeze and squish during your procedure. Practice visualizing your favorite place and consider calming breathing techniques to help you maintain control of your stress. Be sure to ask your dentist’s office about this before your appointment, but most are very supportive of such tools to help patients cope.

Find a dentist that’s right for you

There are many, many dentist’s offices for you to choose from.  Dentists and their team all have different personalities, varied treatment approaches and unique office atmospheres. If you aren’t comfortable with a certain practice, keep looking. You’ll find one that is right for you.

Don’t let dental anxiety keep you from taking care of your oral health.  Avoiding trips to the dentist because you are anxious, scared or nervous is not okay!  Because avoiding routine checkups can lead to bigger, more painful more complicated problems that require more extensive treatment.  Talk to your dentist about managing your concerns, so that you can enjoy ongoing good oral health for years to come.

Does thinking about going to the dentist give you anxiety? Does the idea of a routine dental visit, cavity filling or root canal treatment make you cringe?  Do you worry about the discomfort from dental injections used to numb the mouth prior to dental procedures?  Talk to your dentist.  Many dentists have tips, tricks and tools available to help you deal with dental anxiety.  And many dentists use the DentalVibe tool to completely eliminate the pain that can go along with dental shots during fillings, root canals and other dental procedures.  Talk to your dentist about your concerns. Your oral care team can help you develop an oral care routing that’s right for you.  They can also help you conquer your dental anxiety and prevent the discomfort associated with dental procedures.  That’s something to smile about!

To learn more about painless dental procedures, visit dentalvibe.com to find a DentalVibe dentist near you.

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