While it’s rare to find someone who enjoys going to the dentist, for some, this can actually be a major anxiety-inducing moment. For those with dental anxiety, going to the dentist can be more than just a less-than-fun experience, it can be terrifying. Having a fear of going to the dentist can make it a paralyzing experience to even think about sitting back, opening your mouth wide and feeling someone working in your mouth. People with dental anxiety feel more than just slightly uneasy about going to the dentist. Shortness of breath, inability to sleep the night before and borderline-panic are all common symptoms associated with dental anxiety.
Being anxious about going to the dentist doesn’t always come from a painful experience at the dentist’s office either. Sometimes it comes from a bad experience where you felt like the dentist wasn’t listening well enough to you, feeling out of control or not liking the lack of personal space that’s unavoidable at the dentist’s office. Also, if you have dental anxiety then it can be unimaginable to be faced with the prospect of having to go to a dental surgeon. For many people, their negative feelings towards the dentist are amplified when it comes to combining that experience with a surgical one.
Not addressing your dental anxiety can have a major effect on your dental health. Being afraid of the dentist means you’re less likely to have regular cleanings and dental work performed, which can lead to complications and problems. Further neglecting these problems only compounds any issues and further affects your oral health. When you experience tooth pain or discomfort you’re less likely than the average person to have those issues looked into and resolved. Whether you sometimes experience mild dental anxiety or you have been putting off your dental care because your fears are more intense, it’s important to address your anxiety in order to care for yourself. In this article we’ll go over some easy ways that you can help soothe your dental anxiety so you can maintain your oral health!
1. Take a friend
When visiting a dentist or an oral surgeon for the first time, bringing a trusted friend with you can help ease your feelings of anxiety. A lot of the time, going to the dentist by yourself can only make your anxiety worse, partly because you have nothing else to focus on. Bringing a friend that you trust with you to the dentist’s office can provide extra comfort while also distracting you from your fears. Before bringing your friend, make sure you explain to them what your fears are so that they can help you if you start feeling anxious!
2. Distract yourself
If you’re simply sitting in the dentist chair with nothing to focus on other than what the dentist is doing, then your anxiety is going to be elevated. Giving yourself something else to focus on or think about can make a big difference when it comes to how much anxiety you feel. Try listening to a playlist of your favorite songs, tranquil music, a podcast you like or an audiobook. Putting in headphones and listening to something while the dentist is working can be a great way to turn your attention towards something other than what’s happening.
3. Use relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques can be very helpful in managing your anxiety before it arises and while you’re experiencing it. Next time you start feeling anxious about the dentist try calming breathing exercises. Focusing on your breathing will help turn your mind away from the things that are causing your anxiety.
4. Consider sedatives
If your anxiety is serious enough and these simple exercises don’t help you control it, then speaking with your dentist about the sedative options they have available can be another viable solution. At the Center for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, they have a variety of sedatives available that can be utilized with their procedures. From sedatives that help relax you to ones that will fully sedate you during a procedure, they can advise you on which sedative will work for you and the procedure you’re undergoing.
5. Do your research
Doing your research before going to a dentist or an oral surgeon can also help quell the anxiety that you feel about dental procedures. You want a dentist that you know is experienced in their field and delivers a quality patient experience. You can also research how good a dentist or an oral surgeon is at working with patients that experience dental anxiety. The surgeons at the Center for Oral and Maxillofacial surgery are experts within their fields and understand how debilitating dental anxiety can be. They can help you navigate your oral health without letting your anxiety hold you back.
6. Talk with your dentist
It’s important to speak with your dentist about any of the fears or anxiety you may be feeling. Making your dentist aware of your anxieties can help them treat you more efficiently. It can also be helpful to openly communicate with your dentist and ask them questions related to your appointment and any possible procedures. Understanding your health and what the dentist is doing during your appointment can help put you at ease because you’ll understand what to expect during your visit. After each appointment, openly discuss any recommendations from your dentist to make sure you fully understand the state of your health and any next steps.
Having anxiety about going to the dentist is nothing to be ashamed of. The fact is, a lot of people deal with anxiety and discomfort related to visiting the dentist and too many people let this prevent them from prioritizing their oral health. The staff at the Center for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery understand the approach and extra care that is required to ease dental anxiety. These simple tips can easily be implemented to help you prepare and make it through the dental appointments that are necessary to keep your mouth healthy! If you feel like you’re experiencing any oral pain or discomfort, the team at The Center for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery can address your concerns.
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