Dental anxiety is a common condition that affects many people. At some point in their lives, almost everyone experiences dental anxiety. Dental anxiety is a feeling of nervousness, fear, or apprehension before or during a visit to the dentist. It can range from feelings of uneasiness to full-blown panic attacks. If you have dental anxiety, here are a few tips to overcome it.
Speak up about your fears
Many people are fearful of visiting the dentist. Fear of the dentist can be intimidating and can keep you from getting the dental care you need to stay healthy. However, certain dental offices cater to nervous patients by offering sedation dentistry services. Sedation dentistry uses medication to help patients relax during their treatments. There are different levels of sedation that can be administered based on your level of anxiety and the type of treatment you are receiving. Your dentist will work with you to determine which form of sedation is right for you.
Agree on a signal
It can be unnerving when your dentist is suddenly working on your teeth. At every visit, tell your dentist if you are feeling nervous or need a break. You should agree on a signal to let the dentist know you need a break or that you are uncomfortable and need to stop the procedure. Common signals include raising your hand, pushing away a hand, or putting a finger to your lips. The dentist may also ask you a question during the procedure to assess pain and anxiety levels. Be honest and communicate your concerns so he or she can make accommodations for you. If the dentist is working on one of your front teeth, a small mirror can be placed in your mouth so you can see what the dentist is doing and know how long it will be until you can take a break.
Take a trusted person with you
Some patients feel more relaxed if a friend or family member accompanies them to their appointment. This is especially true for patients who are particularly nervous or fearful. If you are taking someone with you to your procedure, make sure they know what is going to happen and that they can be with you the whole time.
A dentist appointment can seem like an eternity. Many people find it helpful to bring a distraction during the procedure or utilize some relaxation techniques to help calm their nerves.
Consider bringing an iPod and headphones to listen to your favorite music. Some people find meditation to be an effective way to relax. Others read a book or magazine to distract themselves.