For a lot of people getting your annual dental cleaning is just another part of maintaining your health. However, it’s estimated that 9% to 15% of Americans (that’s 30 to 40 million people), the thought of going to the dentist causes a lot of stress and anxiety. More often than not the cleaning is quick and painless, and yet it induces fear for many. Most people are able to cope with the general anxiety of visiting the dentist. For those with dental phobia, the thought of going to the dentist is downright terrifying. Learning how to conquer this fear is doable and will help you in the long run.
Ways to Manage Dental Anxiety
First and foremost, understand that you are not alone. Many Americans deal with dental anxiety and they choose to not visit the dentist at all. This is not something you yourself want to do. Not managing your dental health can lead to serious health issues. One of the most important factors in conquering your anxiety is trust and communication with your dentist. There are several different ways to cope with your anxiety such as:
- Communication: Telling your dentist and the dental staff your concerns will help them adapt your treatment into something more comfortable for you.
- Listen to music: During your dental visit plug into some tunes to help calm and distract you.
- Use hand signals: Before your examination begins establish hand signals with the dental staff. This will give them an easy way to communicate with you when you’re feeling uncomfortable.
- Focus on your breathing: When people are nervous they tend to hold their breath, which decreases your oxygen levels furthering your levels of panic. Focusing on your breathing not only distracts you but helps lowers your stress levels.
- Choose the right dentist: Look at reviews and dental offices that specialize in reducing dental anxiety. Some even offer sedation dentistry allowing you to sleep through the whole procedure.
- Bring a support buddy: Bringing someone you know and trust with you to your appointment can bring a level of comfort to ease your anxiety.
- Be prepared: Knowing ahead of time what to expect is a great way to feel in control.
- Choose a low-stress appointment time: Try to schedule a time when you won’t feel rushed or under pressure. This could either be early morning, or the last appointment of the day. You yourself can decide what time works best for you and communicate with your dentist when that is.
By taking preventative measures and communicating with your dentist office you’ll be able to reduce your dental fears. Another fear associated with the dentist is the overall costs of dental care. You can take measures to help reduce your costs and keep your anxiety to a minimum. With all the DIY ways to reduce your dental anxiety the number one thing you can do is find the right dentist for you and your needs. Contact us now to talk about your personal anxiety and how we can help you maintain your dental health.