When we hear the word anxiety, most of us automatically think of anxiety-related mental disorders. However, this is a word that also has great significance in the dentistry industry.
Research shows that approximately 50 to 80 percent of Americans avoid visiting the dentist due to fear and anxiety. This is what we call dental anxiety, and most of us have been victims of it numerous times. That fear of the unknown has kept so many of us away from the dental care we require, resulting in poor oral health.
If you tend to get really anxious and nervous at the thought of visiting a dentist- then relax because you’re certainly not alone. Here are some tips to help overcome dental anxiety:
What causes dental anxiety?
Some major causes of dental anxiety include;
- Pain: Most of us tend to associate dental procedures with pain. Therefore, the thought of going through a painful process causes a lot of fear and anxiety.
- Past experiences: You might have had an unpleasant dental experience in the past, and hence the thought of going back completely scares you. How sure are you that things won’t be the same or even worse?
- The smell: It may seem minute, but for some people, the sterile smell of a dental office is enough to make them anxious and fearful.
How do you handle dental anxiety?
Once you realize that you are a victim of dental anxiety (like most of us are), various tips can help you deal with this situation.
1. Talk about it
The primary advice often given to anyone suffering from anxiety is the importance of talking about it because this helps a great deal. Our general dentist, Dr. Richardson, and her team, are extremely friendly and dedicated to cultivating a healthy relationship with our clients. Therefore, instead of suffering in silence, you can talk to them about your fears and concerns- you’ll be surprised how much of a difference this will make.
Despite what your subconscious might have you believe, your dentist is just a normal and caring human being who’s dedicated to helping you achieve the best oral health. Therefore, talking to him/her helps them take good care of both your dental and emotional health.
2. Take a friend
The saying- there’s strength in numbers- is extremely applicable in this case. Visiting your dentist with a friend is extremely helpful since they offer a positive distraction and prevent you from thinking about your fears. Also, friends provide you with the support and comfort you need.
3. Distract yourself
Taking part in activities that can help you take your mind off the ongoing dental procedure can be very beneficial. This may seem unlikely, especially if you’re nervous, but these distractions actually help.
• Listening to your favorite music during a dental exam not only helps to calm your nerves but also prevents you from hearing the drill or other dental tools that cause anxiety.
• Try to conjure up happy images in your head since this calms you and takes your mind off the current situation.
• We offer refreshments in our waiting room which helps our clients relax and hence reduce the anxiety. Additionally, our treatment offices have televisions which also serve as a suitable distraction and helps calm your nerves.
4. Relaxation techniques
Various relaxation techniques such as taking deep breaths and meditating are also very instrumental since they calm your nerves and help you relax more. Therefore, consider embracing these techniques before a dental visit.
It would be best if you didn’t allow dental anxiety to come in the way of you and your dental health. This may seem impossible at first, but applying these tips will help you realize that it is indeed possible to deal with the fear. Do not hesitate to contact us and set up an appointment.