Dental Anxiety: Tips and Techniques to Tackle It for Good
Wouldn’t it be great if the simple promise of a sticker or balloon could get everyone to see the dentist, as it did when we were children?
For patients with dental anxiety, however, it sometimes seems that nothing will persuade them into their dentist’s office.
And while, most adults know that the real reward–a healthy smile–is much better than a sticker or balloon, many still go with their dental needs unmet, due to “dental phobia” or dental anxiety.
Unfortunately, missing out on dental care because of anxiety is only certain to lead to larger dental and general health issues down the line. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Thankfully, increased awareness of the anxiety problem has transformed care for the better, and we now have many more effective ways to tackle your fears for good. Follow along with our coping techniques to help you feel more comfortable in the dentist’s chair.
An Introduction to Dental Anxiety and Its Symptoms
Dental anxiety can manifest in many ways. Slight feelings of apprehension, loss of sleep the night before an appointment, and “butterflies” in the stomach are some of the most common symptoms. However, in many cases, dental anxiety can become much more serious. The symptoms of serious dental anxiety may include:
- Spinning thoughts regarding an upcoming dental visit
- An elevated heart rate
- Sweating palms
- Feelings of panic, even at the mention of the dentist
- Difficulty breathing during a dental visit
How to Deal With Dental Anxiety
If you have dental anxiety it’s time to tackle the problem. Start with these steps:
Acknowledge the issue. No matter how long you have suffered from dental anxiety, the first step is to admit you have it.
Figure out why. It could be one of the reasons listed above, or it could be something more or less complex. You can’t deal with your fear until you figure out what’s causing it.
Ask yourself: Do I need help? If you feel nervous and anxious about going to the dentist, you can probably overcome that on your own. But if your phobia is caused by a deeper issue, such as PTSD, you might need professional assistance. Normally, dental anxiety is not based on such serious issues, but if it is, professional help is a good choice.
Commit to overcoming your fear of dentists. Take action. You can’t achieve anything until you have a plan, and at Advanced Endodontics we are happy to sit down with you and sketch out a plan, far in advance of any actual treatment.
Then, adopt the following practical steps during your visit to Advanced Endodontics:
Share your fears. If you’re tense or anxious, tell us!
Focus on breathing regularly and slowly during dental procedures. A focus on slow, regular breathing (through the nose) can help reduce stress levels.
Listen to your favorite tunes. If the sound of the drill bothers you or you need distraction, bring along your favorite music and earphones.
Watch what you eat and drink. Avoid caffeine before a dental appointment. Eat high-protein foods, which – unlike sugary foods – produce a calming effect.
Use hand signals. Give yourself some control by agreeing on hand signals to communicate with your dentist. When you feel uncomfortable, signal the dentist to ease off or stop the procedure.
Choose a low-stress appointment time. This might mean a Saturday or an early-morning appointment, which reduces the amount of time you have to worry about your visit.
How Advanced Endodontics can Ease your Anxiety
A lot of people are afraid of the dentist and the dental clinic due to awful experiences in the past. They have associated dental visits with pain and discomfort. By having a dental experience that is enjoyable and absolutely pain and anxiety-free, you will be more confident and less nervous the next time you visit.
At Advanced Endodontics we not only have trained, caring staff who are used to dealing with anxiety, but we also have sedation approaches that can be helpful, including conscious sedation.
Conscious Sedation has become an important part of modern dentistry because of its many benefits:
- Works very rapidly.
- Makes you feel more relaxed.
- Keeps you comfortable, even in lengthy procedures.
- Reduces gag reflex, pain, and discomfort.
- Allows for multiple dental procedures.
- Shortens your memory of the treatment.
- Effects wear off easily.
- Very few side effects.
- Ensures a pleasant dental experience for you.
A visit to Advanced Endodontics is an investment in your dental health!
Call us today.
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