Did you know that up to 80% of adults have some level of dental anxiety? That’s right, if you’re afraid of the dentist, you’re far from alone. Many people are in the same boat.
You can’t let your dental fear get in the way of your dental health, however. We’re here to help you manage (and maybe even conquer) it. Read on to learn more.
1. Learn More About Dental Care
Often, fear comes from the unknown. If you’re not sure what the dentist is doing (or why they’re doing it), you’re more likely to feel anxious. This is especially true when it comes to treatments that are shown to be painful through popular media (such as root canals and wisdom tooth extractions).
In reality, modern dental care is often close to painless, but you’d never know that if you didn’t do your research. Learning may help put you at ease.
2. Never Skip Dentist’s Appointments
When you’re feeling anxious, you’ll feel tempted to skip your dentist’s appointments. Resist this temptation! You’re going to make your dental fear worse.
By skipping appointments, you build them up in your head. You never get to acclimate yourself to them. Consider going to the dentist as a type of exposure therapy.
If you skip dental appointments, you’re also putting your dental health at risk. This will lead to more advanced procedures instead of simple check-ups.
3. Talk to Your Dentist About Your Fear and Anxiety
Trust us: dentists understand dental anxiety. Many of them have patients who struggle with anxiety, and some dentists themselves may have dental anxiety as well.
Your dentist can offer you solutions.
During procedures, they can walk you through what they’re doing step-by-step. If necessary, they can offer you sedatives to make you more comfortable. No dentist wants to make their patients anxious.
4. Learn Helpful Calming Techniques
Try a few simple coping mechanisms that you can use when you’re waiting for your appointment. There are plenty of helpful breathing exercises that you can do without anyone around you noticing.
You can also practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of getting out of your own head and returning yourself “to the present.” This doesn’t mean that you have to let go of your fear and anxiety, but it should soften it.
You can also use the “54321” ground exercise.
5. Use Distractions
There’s no reason that you have to be paying attention during every moment of your dental appointment. While your dentist will be asking you questions and checking in with you from time to time, if they’re working on your teeth, you can distract yourself.
Many people bring their phones and a pair of headphones to their appointments so they can listen to music or podcasts.
Do You Have Dental Anxiety?
Rest assured that dental anxiety is normal. While it is an irrational fear, that doesn’t mean that you should be ashamed of it. Be kind to yourself and try some of these methods to overcome your anxiety so you can maintain great dental health long-term.
Are you ready for your next dentist’s appointment? We want to meet you! Contact us today to schedule an appointment.