4 Tips to Help Overcome Dental Anxiety

4 tips to help overcome dental anxiety
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Odontophobia, commonly known as the fear of the dentist, is a common complaint and affects over 20% of patients. While this fear affects people to varying degrees, from feeling uneasy to blacking out, it should not prevent you from seeing your dental team, especially in an emergency.

4 Tips to Overcome Dental Anxiety

Keeping up with routine check-ups can help prevent and lessen issues meaning fewer visits in the long run. We provide four tips to assist you in decreasing anxiety at the dentist’s office.

1. Let’s Get To Know You

Most people will book an appointment and go in, white-knuckling the dental chair, talking through gritted teeth, or could even pass out from the anxiety of facing the dentist.

Start slow. Ask the dental team if you could meet with the dentist, tour the office, and ask general questions before booking an appointment. Getting to know the team and clinic beforehand can help to reduce the anxiety of a new place.

Find out how much experience your dental office has dealing with phobias and what they can do to help make your visit more relaxing. They can suggest things you can do before coming in or book an appointment when the clinic is quieter. Hence, there are fewer people around to heighten your fear.

There is also nothing wrong with having a support person with you—a friend or family member who can accompany you to the appointment. Sometimes, knowing someone is waiting for you in the reception area can be a comfort. They could also drive you to and from the appointment, helping to reduce your stress further.

Suppose your phobia is on the extreme end of the scale. In that case, it’s even more critical to ensure that the clinic staff and dental team are aware so that there are no surprises for anyone involved.

2. Manage Your Appointment

Once your dentist knows your phobia and its severity, they can devise a plan to manage the appointment. The plan could be agreeing on hand signals to indicate a problem, taking short breaks, or listening to music on your phone, as long as it doesn’t prevent the team from doing their job.

Before the appointment, find out what technology the clinic and team use. Is there a TV in the ceiling that they can use to distract you? What do they use in terms of administering treatment or pain management?

Setting up certain things in advance gives you the knowledge of what to expect and how to prepare.

Book your next appointment before you leave the clinic. Pre-booking helps you know when you need to return for further treatment or your next routine check. Too often, we leave a stressful appointment with the intention of booking later, and then we don’t. Booking ahead will help manage your anxiety.

3. Prepare For Your Appointment

Aside from talking to the dentist before your appointment, there are some things you can do before you arrive. If meditation is not for you, then controlling what you eat and drink beforehand may be a solution.

Avoiding things with a high caffeine content, such as coffee, and high sugar, such as chocolate, means your body will have more control over the stimuli in the clinic and environment. Caffeine is known for increasing your heart rate, which in turn means that more adrenaline is produced. Adrenaline is the fight-or-flight chemical in your body, and you don’t want to do either in an appointment.

Drinking plenty of water before allows you to stay hydrated, reduces the bacteria on your teeth, and has a calming effect. This suggestion helps to move the appointment along faster. Just don’t drink too much, or you will be taking extra bathroom breaks.

4. Sedate Or Meditate

Practising simple meditation techniques will help to clear and calm your mind, allowing you to take control of your breathing, steady your heart rate, and relax your nerves.

Whether you choose breathing techniques or visualization, by centring yourself, you can put yourself in a calm meditative state, and the team can carry on without causing extra stress. This control, calmness, and confidence allow you to walk into the clinic with a better mindset. Also, it helps to control your anxiety during the appointment itself.

For some people, however, this fear can be crippling. The thought of going to the clinic, let alone walking in, can cause panic attacks, hyperventilation, and passing out. If this is something you have experienced, then talking to your dentist is paramount, as they may be able to recommend a sedative to take before coming.

If you do require a sedative, take someone with you so that they can drive and ensure your safety.

Communication Is Key

Talking to your dental team is one key thing you can do to help reduce your stress and anxiety over your appointment. As your Mississauga Dentist, Bristol Dental always has your needs in mind. Understanding what triggers you and how your anxiety affects you will prepare our team to assist you in making your experience better.

From family to cosmetic dentistry, Bristol Dental provides you with the care and professionalism you expect, with the care you need. Call 1-866-673-2109 or book a consultation online. Let’s work together to keep your stress down and your smile bright.

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