Many people feel nervous about going to the dentist. They worry about problems the dentist may find, and they worry the experience may be uncomfortable or painful.
While dental anxiety is normal and fairly common, the longer patients put off visiting the dentist, the more likely they are to develop more serious issues with their teeth.
When patients have regular dental checkups, the entire process usually goes much smoother.
Of course, overcoming dental fears isn’t always simple.
To help people feel more relaxed and confident about their dental visits, Dr. Kennedy and the team at Turnagain Dental share three tips for overcoming dental fear or anxiety.
Share Your Feelings
If you’re feeling scared, talk to your dentist ahead of time and share any bad experiences you may have had. Then, remind your dentist about your fears once you get to the office.
Talking to your dentist about your anxiety allows him or her to give you the treatment you need to make the experience as pleasant as possible.
Also, ask a lot of questions. The more you know what to expect, the more at ease you’ll feel. And don’t be shy about speaking up during the appointment. If you experience any pain or discomfort, signal your dentist and let him or her know you need a break.
Use Mindfulness Techniques
Mindfulness works wonders at quieting and relaxing the mind. Here are two exercises you can perform to bring your body into a state of calm:
- Deep breathing – Inhale slowly through your nose for several seconds. Then, exhale for the same length of time. Repeat this exercise multiple times.
- Body scan – Concentrate on releasing tension in each part of your body, starting with your head and working your way down to your toes.
Engage with a Distraction
Another coping strategy is to take your mind off the exam by distracting yourself.
Consider wearing headphones and listening to music or an audiobook during the exam. This will help drown out the sounds of any noisy dental tools.
Additionally, you can bring a stress ball or some other object you can use to occupy your hands while sitting in the dental chair.
If you experience dental fear or anxiety and would like to learn more coping techniques, call or email the team at Turnagain Dental, where you can speak to qualified and compassionate dental professionals.