Do you experience dental anxiety? There are certain things that can help you cope with your dental fears.
Fear of the dentist is very common while making dental appointments. Regular dental visits are necessary to maintain good oral health and dental hygiene. Many people cancel or postpone their visit to the dentist due to dental anxiety. Instead of postponing or canceling the visit, people should look for simple ways to deal with dental anxiety.
What is dental anxiety?
A feeling of fear, anxiety or stress regarding a dental visit is called dental anxiety. People who have such dental fear are always scared of going to the dentist. When dental fear is severe, it may lead to delay in dental treatment and may cause serious oral health issues in the future. These individuals meet the criteria for dental phobia or odontophobia.
Triggers of dental phobia or dental fear
There are many things and different reasons that trigger dental anxiety:
- The sight of needles, drills, etc.
- Previous traumatic dental experience
- The more waiting time in reception
- Fear of pain
- Fear of loss of control
- History of generalized anxiety disorder
- Trust issues
- Fear of anesthesia not working and side effects
Symptoms of dental anxiety
Some people don’t feel any anxiety in the initial stage. They feel anxiety or distress for the first time while undergoing dental treatment on a dental chair. People with dental phobia experience multiple symptoms:
- Extreme sweating
- Low blood pressure
- Feeling faint
- Panic attacks
- Heart palpitations
- Aggressive behavior
Tips to deal with dental fear
Dental anxiety or phobia can occur in all age groups. Because the origin of fear varies from person to person, multiple things can be done to alleviate dental anxiety.
If you experience dental anxiety or phobia, then don’t postpone your visits and use these tips to cope with your anxiety.
1. Communicate with your dentist about your concern
Don’t hesitate to tell your dentist about your dental anxiety. They will explain the whole process from start to finish. They can recommend techniques to help you relax and feel more comfortable at your dental appointment.
Don’t be scared to ask questions. If you know about the whole procedure, you may feel less anxiety.
Ask for a sign that you can use to communicate with your dentist. Let the dentist know that you need frequent breaks. Consider telling the dentist a funny story or joke during the procedure. This might distract you from feeling anxious and help you relax.
2. Meditation and muscle relaxation
Anxiety can aggravate while waiting in the reception of a dental clinic or once you sit in the dental chair. Meditation is a simple practice to reduce stress in this situation.
You can meditate while sitting in a dental clinic. Once you’re seated, close your eyes or fix your eyes on an object, and then allow your body to completely relax. Pay attention to different body parts and make a conscious effort to release stress. Relax your entire body from head to toe.
Meditate before and during your dental appointment to stay calm, focused, and stress-free.
3. Breathing exercises
Deep breathing exercises can relax your mind and reduce your stress during dental appointments.
Close your eyes and slowly inhale through your nose. Hold it for a few seconds, and then slowly exhale through your mouth. Repeat this several times.
4. Distraction and hypnosis
One of the easiest ways to relieve dental anxiety is to get distracted. You can watch your favorite TV show or movie on your phone, or perhaps wear headphones and listen to music, and feel better and distracted. You can also try hypnotherapy which can make your conscious mind quiet. The therapist helps you in controlling your anxiety.
The process of conditioning was usually used for kids but many adults are also getting benefits from this technique. In this, people are advised to see multiple videos, audios, pictures, testimonials, etc. before getting dental treatment. It gives you an idea about the dental equipment and procedures about to happen at the dentist’s office. Therefore, conditioning helps in relieving dental anxiety.
Analgesics are drugs used for pain relief. These medicines can be used to relieve pain as well as dental anxiety.
Dentists usually utilize the laughing gas, also known as nitrous oxide. It is a colorless gas that people can breathe in during or before the process begins.
7. Bring a friend
Bring your friend or relative along with you to calm yourself. Ask your dentist if someone can accompany you to the dental operatory. The presence of someone near and dear can help you feel comfortable, safe, and relaxed.
8. Anxiety relieving medication
Some dentists may prescribe a short-acting anti-anxiety medicine to help lessen the mild anxiety before the dental appointment. Take the medicine one hour before your dental visit.
9. Conscious sedation
In case of moderate to severe dental anxiety, the option is conscious sedation. It involves taking an oral sedative a few hours before your dental appointment. You will remain awake and conscious but in a very relaxed state.
Visualization can help you relax as you prepare yourself for a dental procedure.
You should visualize yourself in a calm and relaxed state, with your mind on something pleasant. Visualize the dentist and staff being friendly and helpful, with no fear or anxiety. You might even think about what it will be like when your treatment is complete, having a healthy smile again!
One of the critical aspects of overall well-being is oral health. Dental anxiety can affect children and adults but cope with your dental phobia and keep your dental appointments regular. Discuss with your dentist what’s making you anxious.
It’s important to remember that there are many different ways to control your anxiety and find relief from it. If you feel like you need more help than what we have provided here, talk to your doctor for further recommendations on how to address your situation. It’s time to turn the page on dental anxiety and take control of your oral health.
Take a deep breath and relax. Shubham dental clinic is here to help you get the smile you’ve imagined.