Does a trip to the dentist give you major anxiety?
There are millions of Americans out there just like you. In fact, studies have shown that somewhere between 30 and 40 million Americans choose not to go to the dentist on a regular basis simply because it gives them anxiety and fills them with fear.
Many of these people have cavities that need to be filled. Many also have serious gum infections that could affect their health in a very serious way. But dental anxiety prevents them from working up the nerve to make an appointment with their dentist.
If you fall into this category, you should know that there are ways to manage and deal with your anxiety so that you don’t have to suffer anymore.
Here are 7 surefire tips that will help you put your dental anxiety to rest.
1. Find a Dentist Who Treats Those With Dental Anxiety
There are a lot of people who have dental anxiety simply because they have had bad experiences at the dentist’s office in the past.
Some of them worked with a dentist who was anything but gentle, while others had to undergo a procedure that involved a lot of pain.
If this sounds like you, you should look around and find dentists in your area who specialize in treating those with dental anxiety. You’ll be surprised by how many of them you’ll find.
A place like Forest Park Dental is the perfect landing spot for someone who has dental anxiety. They will work with you to overcome it over time.
Many dentists understand that people fear taking trips to their offices. So they go above and beyond to make sure their patients feel 100 percent comfortable during visits.
Once you find a dentist who can help you deal with your dental anxiety, you should spend part of your first visit speaking about your fears. You should let the dentist know what you’re scared of and why you don’t like going to the dentist.
A good dentist will take everything you say and use it to deliver the best dental care possible. Before long, you might actually find that you–ahem–enjoy going to the dentist due to your dentist’s approach to delivering care.
2. Ask Your Dentist About the Tools He or She Uses
Is there anything scarier than walking into a dentist’s office and seeing a plate filled with tools that are going to be used during your check-up?
It’s enough to send shivers down the spines of even the most experienced dental patients.
The tools that a dentist uses aren’t actually as scary as they might look, though. And your dentist would probably be more than willing to walk you through what each one does to give you a better understanding of them.
If you’re that freaked out by the sight of your dentist’s tools, ask him or her to walk you through them before your next appointment starts. In just a minute or two, the dentist will help put your mind at ease by talking about the tools and explaining what they’re used for.
3. Encourage Your Dentist to Work Slowly on Your Teeth
When you walk into your dentist’s office, you want to be as calm as possible.
You should try using some breathing techniques to relax and slow everything down. It’ll help you process the situation better and allow some of the fear that you feel to dissipate.
You should also ask your dentist if he or she would be willing to slow down a bit while working on you to help you to stay calm.
The simple act of slowing down will ease some of your dental anxiety and help you feel more comfortable with whatever your dentist is doing.
Over time, you can ask your dentist to speed things up so that you’re not in the chair all day long. But at the beginning, it’s not a bad idea to ask the dentist to work slowly to allow yourself to take in everything that’s happening.
4. Distract Yourself While Your Dentist Is Working
For some people, the sound of the drill at the dentist’s office is enough to send them into a panic. They hear that drill, and they instantly want to run out of the office and never come back.
Do you get goosebumps when you hear your dentist’s drill start up? It’s a natural feeling, and most people don’t like the sound that a drill makes.
Fortunately, there are some easy ways to block out the sound and prevent it from striking fear in you.
The easiest way to do it is by investing in a pair of cheap earplugs that you can use during dentist’s visits. The earplugs can prevent the sounds of the drill from causing your dental anxiety to flare up.
You can also bring a pair of headphones to the dentist’s office and turn on music while your dentist is using the drill. The music will drown out the sounds of the drill.
The key is to distract your mind so that it doesn’t feel anxious while you’re having your teeth worked on at the dentist’s office. As long as you can do that, you’re less likely to freak out when the dentist comes close to you with a drill.
5. Come Up With a Way to Let Your Dentist Know You Feel Pain
No matter how gentle a dentist tries to be, there’s a chance that you might experience some pain when you’re having a procedure done. It’s going to be unavoidable at times.
You should speak with your dentist about using sedation to numb the pain that you might feel during a procedure.
You should also speak with your dentist about coming up with a signal that you can send in the event that you feel pain.
Many dentists will tell their patients to make a loud sound or lift one of their arms up if they ever experience pain during a visit. This will let the dentist know that a patient is uncomfortable and wants to stop.
You need to build up trust with your dentist over the years by testing out your signals when you feel pain. When you do this, it will help you get rid of your dental anxiety little by little.
6. Take Frequent Breaks During Your Dental Visits
There are some dental procedures that can take a long time. Even something as routine as a dental cleaning will usually take about 30 minutes or so.
If you have dental anxiety, 30 minutes can feel like 30 hours. So it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about potentially taking breaks at different points during a cleaning or other procedure.
There are some procedures that can take an hour or more. Since this can be overwhelming for someone who has anxiety, you should inquire about breaking an hour-long procedure into 15-minute segments.
Each time you take a break, you will get the chance to speak with your dentist about what he or she is doing and what’s going to come next.
By talking things out with your doctor, you’ll gain a better understanding of what’s going on and feel a lot less anxious about it.
As time goes on, you can limit the number of breaks you take until you’re not taking any breaks at all. It will slowly build up your tolerance for the dentist’s office and show that you don’t have anything to worry about.
7. Care for Your Teeth to Prevent Extra Dentist Visits
If you have dental anxiety, the absolute last thing you want to do is make multiple trips to the dentist over the course of just a few months.
But that’s exactly what you’re going to have to do if you don’t take care of your teeth.
Studies have revealed that there are a lot of young people today who don’t take good care of their teeth. The majority of millennials only brush their teeth once a day, and many of them don’t floss at all.
Does that sound like you? If so, you should know that you’re basically predetermining that you’re going to need to have a lot of dental work done in the future.
You should make it a point to care for your teeth as best you can. When you do this, you won’t have to go to the dentist as often. You’ll also have more pleasant trips to the dentist overall since you won’t need any major work done.
That alone will work wonders for your dental anxiety and help you avoid dreading going to see the dentist.
Get a Handle on Your Dental Anxiety Today
You don’t want to end up dealing with dentures one day simply because you stopped going to the dentist, do you?
You can avoid it by overcoming your dental anxiety and taking regular trips to see your dentist. As you can see, there are many easy steps you can take to make it possible.
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