If you feel anxious about seeing the dentist, you are not alone. An estimated 50-80% of adults in the United States suffer from some degree of dental anxiety, according to a study by the Journal of Dental Hygiene. This anxiety causes more than 20% of these adults to avoid seeing the dentist regularly, which can be detrimental to their oral health. Luckily, it is possible to cope with dental anxiety.
Follow these five tips to help you overcome dental anxiety:
Tip #1 – Recognize The Fear
The first step in overcoming dental anxiety is recognizing that you suffer from it. Patients feel anxious about going to the dentist for several reasons, mainly fear of pain, loss of control, embarrassment about dental health, or a bad experience in the past. In many cases, it is a combination of some or all of these factors. Coming to terms with the reasoning behind your fear can help you take steps to overcome it.
Tip #2 – Be Honest With Your Dentist
If you feel nervous about your dental procedure, do not keep your fears bottled up. Let your dentist and their team know how you are feeling. They can’t take steps to make you feel more comfortable unless they know you are anxious. Since dental anxiety is so common, dentists have a lot of experience helping people just like you. Once they are aware of how you are feeling, they can explain everything they are doing to help ease your worries. You can even set up a signal with them, such as raising your hand, that will indicate when you need to take a break.
Tip #3 – Bring Along Moral Support>
Not going to your dental visit alone can reduce feelings of anxiety. Ask a friend or family member to accompany you to your dental appointment. Whether they stay in the lobby, wait in the car, or come to the room with you, knowing that someone you trust is nearby can help you feel safer and more comfortable. They can also speak up for you during times you can’t, helping you feel more in control of the situation. Just be sure to check current rules for bringing along a support person, as this varies based on the dentist you choose and your circumstances.
Tip #4 – Try Out Relaxation Techniques
Getting yourself in the right mindset before your appointment is another way to combat anxious feelings about the dentist. Relaxation techniques like breathing exercises and simple meditations will help relax your muscles and slow your heartbeat. Watching a funny movie or video before your appointment can also help you calm down. During your procedure, distract yourself by listening to music, playing with a stress ball or fidget spinner, or focusing on the television in the room.
Tip #5 – Find a Dentist You Trust
Finding the right dentist can make all of the difference in alleviating your dental anxiety. If a dentist is right for you, they will make you feel comfortable and confident in the care you are receiving. A few things to look for in a trusted dental office are friendly staff, a relaxing atmosphere, and high-tech equipment and treatments.
Trusted Dentist in Oro Valley
Smith Dentalworks serves patients in Oro Valley, as well as Tucson and other surrounding communities. When you trust us for your oral hygiene needs, our team of experienced dentists and hygienists will treat you with care throughout your entire procedure. For patients that are afraid of experiencing pain, we also offer pain-free dental treatments with laser technology.