Dental anxiety or dental phobia are not only very common feelings among the general population, but also the things people site most often in their list of top fears. Loving what we do and being immersed in the wonderful world of dentistry every day, we have to remind ourselves that this anxiety generally stems from fear of the unknown, as the dentist’s office is a place most people visit just a couple of times per year.
If dental anxiety is not dealt with as a child, it is very likely that it will continue into adulthood. Avoiding the dentist because of this phobia could be detrimental to your oral and overall health. Following are a few tips to bear in mind on your (or your child’s) next trip to the dentist to keep you feeling calm.
1. Talk to us!
It is important to be upfront about your fears so that we are aware of how you are feeling. This way, we can make an extra effort to go slow, and explain what is happening along the way. Perhaps you or your child would like to know more about the tools and equipment we will be using during your cleaning or procedure. Just ask!
2. Bring a friend
Often times, the simple anticipation of your dental visit is enough to cause anxiety. It could be that all you need is a companion to distract you along the way. Having someone to chat to in the waiting room, or to make sure you get there on time, thus limiting the stress you feel upon arrival is all it takes to keep you calm.
3. Listen to music
Depending on the procedure you are receiving, it is perfectly acceptable to listen to low and relaxing music on your iPod. This will not only drown out the sometimes scary sounds of our dental tools, but will make you feel a little more at home.
Visualization and meditation are great options for dealing with anxiety in any scenario. The good news is, the dental chair is a comfy spot for you to sit still and let your mind wander. Picturing a tranquil place where you feel content will distract from the current environment.
5. Go to the source
Try to figure out why you may be feeling this way. Did you have a bad past experience with a dentist? Is this your first visit/cleaning/procedure? Generally, finding the route cause will lead you to the perfect solution for your dental anxiety.