Tags – Tips to Ease Dental Anxiety
According to statistics from the Oral Health Foundation, 1 in 5 people in the UK has a dental phobia. Dental practitioners are a pleasant bunch, so it comes as a surprise that so many of us feel anxious to visit the dentist.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ease your anxiety and make your next dental appointment a breeze.
In this blog post, we will discuss some tips that will help you prepare for your next appointment and reduce your anxiety levels.
Common Reasons Why People Feel Anxious Visiting The Dentist
Before we jump into how you can ease your dental anxiety, let’s take a look at some of the common reasons why people are nervous about visiting the dentist:
An Unpleasant Past Experience
Dental anxiety is most often started in childhood.
It might be the result of a terrible or excruciating dental experience, as well as frightening stories heard from others or the media.
Thanks to all of the remarkable advancements in dentistry over time, the majority of today’s dental treatments are significantly less painful and frequently none at all.
Fear of Needles
When it comes to dental procedures, many people are scared of needles.
On the other hand, some fear that the anaesthesia won’t work on them, or that it won’t kick in before the procedure begins.
Loss of Control
Many individuals are uncomfortable with the dentist or hygienist getting so close to their face.
When people are sitting in a dentist’s chair with their mouths open and unable to see what is going on, they become self-conscious or feel like they are out of control.
Some patients are afraid of being judged or shamed by their dentist if they let a toothache linger for too long, or if they are self-conscious about their teeth.
In some cases, some people may be concerned about receiving bad news about their teeth.
Our Top 3 Tips for Reducing Dental Anxiety
Whatever your motivation, the perfect dental staff will ensure that your dental and emotional health are properly cared for.
The more you put off going to the dentist – or just don’t go – the more difficult it will be to prepare for future visits and the higher the risk of developing dental problems.
That said, follow these tips to make your next appointment a little easier:
1. Speak Up
Sharing your feelings, as anyone with anxiety knows, makes a world of difference.
If you’re tense or concerned, please talk to someone about it. Your dentist and dental staff will be able to provide you with better care if they understand your needs.
So, when you make an appointment, explain to the receptionist that you are apprehensive about dental visits. Then when you arrive, remind the dentist and staff about your anxiety. Share any bad experiences you’ve had in the past, as well as asking for coping ideas.
Secondly, don’t be afraid to ask questions – when you know what is going to happen during your appointment, this should help put your mind at ease.
And, if things get too much, agree on a signal and let your dentist know you need a quick break during the appointment by raising your hand.
2. Use Mindfulness Techniques
Relaxation begins in the mind. Deep breathing exercises can help you relax your muscles and relieve any tension.
That said, count your breaths during your appointment; inhale slowly for 5 seconds, then exhale for 5 seconds. The best thing is, you can practise this at any point – whether you’re sitting in the waiting room or on the dental chair!
3. Distract Yourself
Distracting yourself during a dental appointment may seem impossible when you’re feeling anxious, but think of ways that will help to distract your thoughts.
For example, it may be helpful to wear headphones if the sound of the drill triggers you.
Alternatively, you could squeeze on a stress ball or play with a fidget spinner.
And if that doesn’t work, try to close your eyes and imagine your happy place: are you seeing yourself relaxing on the beach, or maybe sitting in your garden on a hot summer’s day?
Dental anxiety is a real thing, but there are ways to cope. Talk to your dentist about your concerns and ask for their help in making your appointment more comfortable for you.
Remember to breathe, relax and distract yourself during the procedure.
Lastly, try not to wait too long between appointments! The longer you leave it, the harder it will be to go back.
For more information, please get in touch.
In the meantime, take a look at our dental treatment list here.
You may also like