Table of Contents Hide
- Understand What Causes Dental Anxiety
- Do Your Research
- Choose Your Dentist Carefully
- Set Aside Time for Relaxation Before Your Appointment
- Consider Sedation Dentistry
- Prepare Yourself for Treatment
- Schedule Appointments for Early Morning or Late Afternoons
- Set Goals During Your Visit
- Focus on Something Else While Getting Treatment Done
- Seek Professional Help
- Use These Tips and Tricks to Manage Your Dental Anxiety
Did you know about 75% of the population suffers from dental anxiety?
If you’re trying to overcome dental anxiety as an adult, then you have a better chance at it than most others. As adults, we have a ton of resources available to us that weren’t around when we were kids.
That is great because it allows us to get past our fears and into the dentist’s chair.
It is important to understand that you can overcome your fear of the dentist. It takes a lot of work and dedication, but it is possible.
If you are wondering how to handle your dental anxiety as an adult, this short and simple guide is for you.
Understand What Causes Dental Anxiety
Dental anxiety is a fear or dislike of going to the dentist, often caused by previous traumatic experiences at the dentist’s office.
It’s common for children who’ve had unpleasant experiences at their first dental appointment to develop an anxiety disorder later in life. Adults can also develop dental phobias after experiencing severe pain during treatment or seeing someone else in pain at a dental office.
There are many reasons people might feel anxious around the dentist.
Some people worry their dentist will judge them because of their teeth or oral health habits. Others fear losing control over their bodies because of anesthesia. And others simply don’t like being in tight spaces where they don’t know what will happen next.
If you suffer from dental phobia, the best thing to do is talk about it with your dentist.
Do Your Research
If you’re anxious about what the dentist will find when they look inside your mouth, it’s important to do some research on common problems so that you don’t jump to conclusions based on what someone else might have told you.
If you’re worried about cavities, for example, know that they aren’t always painful. You can also ask your dentist what signs to watch out for so that you know when it’s time to come in for treatment and how to take care of your teeth until then.
The best way to deal with dental fear is to know what you’re dealing with and have a plan in place. If you’re nervous about going to the dentist, talk with your provider about how they can help you feel more comfortable.
If you need to find a good dentist nearby where you live or work, click here.
Choose Your Dentist Carefully
Ask friends and family members for recommendations. You should also visit the office during regular business hours when it’s less busy so you can get a feel for how things operate there before making an appointment.
Once you narrow down your list, schedule an appointment with each one. Don’t just pick one because someone else recommended them or because they were the first person available when you called.
See how each office handles incoming calls and appointments, as well as how they treat you when you arrive. You should also check out their location, parking, and amenities. If possible, ask to see examples of their work before making an appointment to ensure it meets your standards.
If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask the dentist. It’s important that you feel comfortable with your dentist and that they can answer all of your questions about your dental health before making an appointment.
Set Aside Time for Relaxation Before Your Appointment
To make sure you’re in a calm state of mind when it’s time to go in, spend a few minutes relaxing in a favorite chair or lying down on the couch with your feet up. Take deep breaths and release any stress from your body.
If you have time to meditate before your appointment, this will also help you prepare yourself for the session.
If you’re feeling anxious or stressed, consider taking a short walk or doing some other form of exercise before your appointment. This can help you clear your mind and relax your body, which will make it easier to focus during the session.
You will feel more relaxed if you use the time before your appointment to prepare yourself mentally for what’s ahead.
Consider Sedation Dentistry
Ask about sedation dentistry and find out if it’s right for you. Sedation dentistry includes conscious sedation, deep sedation, and general anesthesia.
Conscious sedation is a good option for people who are concerned about the pain of dental procedures but want to stay awake and communicate with their dentist. It’s also useful for those who have trouble sitting still for long periods or need to drive themselves home afterward.
Deep sedation may be recommended if you have severe anxiety, fear of needles or dentists, or trouble breathing. You’ll fall asleep during the procedure and feel no pain.
General anesthesia is the most extreme form of sedation and involves putting you to sleep. It’s usually recommended only for very complex procedures or those that require multiple stages, such as dental implants.
If you’re sedated, your dentist will administer the medication in an area away from the surgery. This allows them to monitor your breathing and heart rate during the procedure.
If any problems arise, they can administer additional sedation or stop the procedure.
Prepare Yourself for Treatment
It’s easy for people with dental anxiety to imagine worst-case scenarios when going into a dental appointment. Try not to think about these things before going into treatment so that you don’t add stressors on top of what is already happening in your mouth at that moment or anytime during treatment.
If possible, visit a dentist ahead of time so you can get used to being in the office environment before an appointment.
If your dentist will work with you, he or she may schedule a “practice visit” where you can get used to the procedure and equipment. It may also help if you bring someone along with you who can provide moral support during your appointment.
Schedule Appointments for Early Morning or Late Afternoons
If possible, try scheduling appointments when most other people aren’t at work or school, so there will be fewer distractions and interruptions while in the office. Avoid Fridays, if possible, since they’re typically busier days due to end-of-the-week deadlines and meetings.
If you’re able to schedule your appointment during a slower time, such as early morning or late afternoon, you may get more attention from your dentist. If you don’t have many options and must visit during peak hours, try calling ahead of time to confirm that the office has enough staff members available on that day.
Set Goals During Your Visit
Try setting small goals for yourself during your appointment, such as taking deep breaths or counting down from 10 before each procedure begins. If you’re nervous about your appointment, try to think of it as a challenge that you can conquer.
This will help you feel more in control and less stressed about your appointment. By setting small goals and focusing on something else, you’ll be able to get through this visit without feeling too anxious.
Focus on Something Else While Getting Treatment Done
If you’re doing something else while your dentist is working on your teeth, it will take away some of your focus from what’s happening in your mouth.
You can bring reading material or listen to music through headphones during treatments like cleanings or fillings. Or if you’re having an x-ray taken, try looking away from the machine and focusing on something else instead.
This will help you feel less uncomfortable and ease dental anxiety.
Seek Professional Help
Dental phobia isn’t something that you can simply “grow out of” on your own. If you’re suffering from extreme fear or panic attacks when thinking about going to the dentist’s office, it may be time to seek professional help.
A therapist can teach you relaxation techniques while also helping you work through any underlying issues that might cause your fear. A therapist can also work with you and your dentist to come up with a plan for addressing your fear.
They may recommend that you take certain medications or see a dentist before starting any other therapy sessions.
Use These Tips and Tricks to Manage Your Dental Anxiety
Dental anxiety can be intense, and for those who experience it, there is no feeling more unsettling than knowing a dental appointment is coming up. It’s important to know that you’re not alone, as millions of adults endure dental anxiety as well.
Luckily, there are plenty of tips that can help take the edge off your next visit to the dentist. Remember, pain is temporary, but a beautiful smile lasts forever.
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