It has been estimated that 9% – 20% of Americans have anxiety or fear about going to the dentist. Two-thirds of the population blames their fear on a bad experience in the dental chair. The other third have fear of anesthesia side effects or the pain associated with going to the dentist. Some patients even feel they have no control because they are lying in the dental chair with their mouth open and can’t really communicate.
Here are the top five ways to get over your dental anxiety.
Talk to a Close Friend
You might feel better if you talk to a close friend about their experience at the dentist. Ask them where they go and how well they like the dentist. If your friend has had a positive experience they may be able to reassure you that everything will be ok. Sometimes a word of encouragement from a close friend is the best medicine in the world.
Distracting yourself with something else is a great way to beat the anxiety. Bring your iPod and your headphones. Load some new music on it before your appointment so you will be paying more attention to the new tunes that what the dentist is doing. Before you know it, your appointment will be over and you’ll be one your way.
Controlled breathing exercises are a great way to calm you. Slow, deep breaths will help you relax your mind and your body. Taking a yoga class before going to the dentist would be a good way to calm your nerves before heading off to the dentist. Meditation before your appointment may also help.
Talk to Your Dentist
Simply talking to your dentist before any work is done may help to alleviate some, if not all, of your anxiety. You can talk to your dentist about what kind of sedatives are available to you, such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral sedatives or a local injection (Novocain). Much of a person’s anxiety comes from fear of sedation, so talk to your dentist about which option is right for you.
Find a New Dentist
If it is actually your dentist that is making you uncomfortable with how they talk to you or treat you, then it’s time to find a new dentist. Ask your friends or family where they go to the dentist. Ask them how friendly the dentist is and if they are good about talking to their patients about their fear and anxiety. You can even make an appointment to interview a new dentist before deciding which one to visit. Do what you need to do to get back to seeing the dentist and caring for your oral health.
Unfortunately, some dentists create the anxiety themselves by assuming that all patients have the same tolerance for pain and handle each patient exactly the same way. You won’t find that here at Simply Smiles Dentistry. We will do everything we can to make your dental experience a pleasant one.
Until next time… Keep on Smiling!