Having fear or anxiety about going to the dentist is a very common occurrence that affects individuals of any age. Many people put off visiting the dentist for years or avoiding treatments because of their feelings of anxiety. Luckily, there are ways of managing these fears.
Here are 7 ways to help you deal with dental anxiety.
1. Find the Right Dentist
There’s no shame in having a fear of the dentist, and one of the best ways of dealing with your fear is to find a dentist who understands and can support you. There are many things that your dentist can do to alleviate your fears. For instance, find an Invisalign Dentist in Ottawa you feel comfortable with and that you can talk to.
2. Practice Relaxation and Breathing
If you know you get nervous when you go to the dentist, practice relaxation techniques and deep breathing to help calm yourself before you go. These could include meditation, tensing and releasing the muscles in your body or going for a walk. If you find yourself getting anxious at the dentist’s office, often these same techniques can help quell your anxiety.
3. Admit Your Fear
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is admit that we are anxious and have fear. Dental anxiety is extremely common and there is a good chance your dentist has dealt with it before. The most common fears include:
- Fear of Pain – often the fear of pain is far worse than the actual pain, but many people will avoid going to the dentist because of pain.
- Bad past dental experiences
- Embarrassment about your oral health – If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while you may feel anxious or embarrassed about the state of your teeth.
- Fear of Needles – is a common fear. Your dentist has many ways to deal with needles and how they are used.
- Lack of Control – often people are afraid of a loss of control from sedation or medication or simply not being able to swallow or spit when they need to.
4. Talk To Your Dentist and ask lots of Questions
Once you’ve narrowed down your fears on your own, the best thing to do is to discuss them with your dentist. Once your dentist knows where the fear or anxiety is coming from they can work with you to find the best way to approach your treatment to make you feel more comfortable.
If you have a fear of getting dentures, let your dentist know so they can introduce alternatives like Invisalign in Edmonton. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions and talk through the treatments step by step. It can help to have your dentist explain exactly what will happen at every stage of the procedure including what tools they will use, how it will feel and how long it will take.
5. Find Ways to Distract Yourself
Once you’ve talked over your fears with your dentist and feel comfortable proceeding with the treatments, it can be helpful to distract yourself if you are still feeling anxious. Some useful methods include:
- Bring A Friend – find someone who understands your fear and that can support you during your dentist visit. Some dentists’ offices will even let you bring in a therapy pet to help ease your anxiety.
- Watch the Tv – often a dentists’ office will have televisions within the eye-line of patients sitting in the procedure chairs. Ask your dentist to tune into your favourite program and focus on the screen rather than on your teeth.
- Listen to Music – bring along your iPod with some headphones or a playlist of your favourite relaxing music and tune in.
6. Establish a Safety Signal
Talk to your dentist before your treatment begins and agree on a safety signal such as raising your hand or pumping your fist. If you give this sign this is an indication that your dentist needs to stop the treatment immediately. If you feel uncomfortable, anxious, need a break or simply need to spit, all you need to do is give the sign.
7. Ask For Medication
Sometimes medication can be very helpful for dealing with fears and anxiety about the dentist.
- Laughing gas or nitrous oxide is used to help people relax during dental treatments. It allows you to feel pleasantly relaxed but still awake. It also takes effect very quickly and wears off quickly.
- Anxiety Medication – sometimes dentists will prescribe anxiety-relieving medication to help patients deal with a dental visit. It is important to discuss the effects and side effects of all medication with your dentist or doctor beforehand.