Six Tips for Staying Calm when you have Dental Anxiety

Everyone is scared of something. Some people are scared of heights, others are afraid of snakes, and still others have anxiety about going to the dentist. Going for a checkup and cleaning are essential for your oral health, so don’t avoid your visit just because you are afraid. There are many different options for helping you relieve your anxiety and relax during your next dental appointment.

1. Listen to Music
Dentists are used to dealing with people that have dental anxiety – about a quarter of Americans avoid getting work done on their teeth because of fear. So don’t worry, they won’t be offended if you bring in an MP3 player to listen to. By closing your eyes and blocking out frightening sounds, you’ll be better able to cope with your fear. You can also choose a dentist that offers different options of entertainment. Some dental offices have televisions mounted on the ceiling and you can relax and watch a movie while your have a procedure done. You might even forget you are at the dentist!
2. Go to a Pain-Free Dentist
Some dentist offices advertise a “pain-free guarantee” or something similar because they want to help people get over their phobia. For instance, the folks at genesisdental.nethave a saying – “No Pain No Gain – No Way”, meaning that pain and dentistry don’t have to go together. Getting your teeth cleaned or repaired doesn’t have to be painful. Most dentists offer many different options including total sedation, laughing gas and pain relief shots.
3. Talk to Your Dentist
Some people prefer to know what’s going to happen at each step in a procedure, but others may not want to think about it. Tell your dentist ahead of time if you would like him to keep you informed or talk about other things. Some people feel more comfortable knowing exactly what is going on in their mouths, while others may feel more stressed about this.
4. Consider Medication
While you don’t want to take medicine if you don’t have to, it might be necessary. If you have sever anxiety, talk to a doctor about prescription medications that may help you relax. Only take something if you’ve talked to your dentist beforehand and you’ve both agreed on a medication that will be safe. Your dentist needs to know what you are taking so they can be sure not to give you anything that interferes with it.
5. Use Hand Signals
It can be hard to tell your dentist that you’re overwhelmed when they’re working inside of your mouth, so tell them ahead of time that you’ll raise your hand or make another hand motion if you feel like you need a break. A really good dentist will also be able to read your eyes and know that you are in need of a rest.
6. Bring Something to Squeeze
It doesn’t matter how old you are – squeezing something usually helps with fear. Whether this is a teddy bear, a stress ball, or a friend’s hand, bring something to squeeze so you can focus on that instead of the dental work being done. If you feel embarrassed about bringing a stuffed animal into your dental office, something as simple as a puffy winter jacket on your lap will do the trick.
Considering that about every four out of five people are scared of visiting the dentist, it’s a common fear. There’s nothing wrong with being scared. Just make sure that you find a way to deal with your fear in a good way so you can keep your teeth healthy. Talk to your doctor about your anxieties before your procedure so that you can put in place a plan that works for both of you.