Does the thought of visiting the dentist ever make you feel uneasy, nervous, or scared? If so, don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, experiencing feelings of fear or anxiousness about going to the dentist is more common than you think. Today, it’s reported that about 36% of people in the U.S. fear dental treatment.
If you have dental anxiety, you may be more likely to put off dental visits. Unfortunately, postponing visits and not getting the proper care you need can lead to poor oral health down the line. Although dental anxiety is common, there are things you can do to ease the feeling to make your dental visits more enjoyable.
Top 5 ways to ease dental anxiety
Talk to your dentist and hygienist
The best way to ease dental anxiety is to discuss your feelings with your dental team. If the appointment makes you nervous, tell them! By Informing them of your situation, they’ll know they need to give explanations and assurances throughout each step of your appointment so you know what to expect from start to finish. They may also guide you through other anxiety relief techniques.
Drown out the noise
Today, many dental offices offer their patients the option to watch TV during their appointment. If you get the choice, turn the volume up on your headphones to mute the sound of potential anxiety-inducing instruments and tools. If your dentist doesn’t provide headphones, feel free to bring your own and listen to a show, movie, podcast, or music.
Meditation is a great way to calm both your mental and physical self before, during, and after a dental visit. It doesn’t have to be something elaborate, but even just taking the time to focus on your breathing can help. Take deep breaths in and long breaths out and make a note of how you feel while doing it. If you brought headphones, feel free to use a meditation app during the appointment for different guided meditations.
Bring a family member or friend
If the support of friends and family eases your mind, bringing someone close to you may make you feel more comfortable during your visit. Ask your dental office if it’s OK to have a companion sit in the room with you.
Discuss medication options
If natural remedies don’t provide the anxiety relief you’re looking for, your dentist may be able to prescribe anti-anxiety medication for you to take before an appointment. You and your dentist may also discuss the possibility of sedation and decide if something like nitrous oxide (laughing gas) may be an option to help keep you calm.
Don’t let dental anxiety keep you from the dentist
You can’t hide from the dentist forever. Dental visits are essential for your oral and overall health, so it’s important that you invest the time in finding ways to relieve your dental anxiety. Next time you have a dental appointment, try one of the tips above!