The fear and anxiety about going to the dentist is a serious issue for millions of people. This fear is extremely detrimental causing people to avoid dentist appointments making the situation worse. It’s a problem, not only among children but even adults fall into this category. To overcome your dental anxiety, you need to realize the truth about your anxiety and note down what you are afraid of. This way you can come to terms with it. A good start towards reducing this creepiness is to communicate with your dentist and clear that awkwardness. This allows your dentist to make an informed decision and create an action plan. This makes the entire situation much more acceptable for you and preps you for the dental procedure.
Here are a few tips that you can use to reduce fear and can surely help you conquer the fear:
- Listen to Music
Music has a very soothing and calming effect on the mind. It is an effective stress diffuser and a great move towards meditation. Listening to slow, quiet and classical music on headphones is one of the easiest methods to calm yourself before and after surgery. Many dentists provide their patients with an iPod to listen to while they perform their dental procedure. Even if your dentist doesn’t provide, you can always carry your own handy music device with you. Many healthcare professionals appreciate the benefits of music therapy. Studies have proved that listening to calming music during dental procedures significantly lowers blood pressure, anxiety and stress levels in patients. So, now you know the first magic formula to face your fear!
- Herbal Remedies
Sipping a hot cup of tea is therapeutic in itself. Herbal tea is used to unwind and de-stress for centuries. According to scientific research, herbal tea has an anti-stress effect on the body. Depending on the herb used, it helps in dealing with chronic stress, anxiety, and depression.
Chamomile tea is one of the oldest remedy used in times of stress. The flavonoids in chamomile bind with the brain receptors to induce sedation and relax your body. Green tea and black tea both have a calming effect and soothes anxiety. An amino acid found in green tea known as L-Theanine has a calming effect on people who drink it and thus relieves anxiety. Use of Passionflower extract and Valerian plant extract reduce stress and induce sleep.
- Breathing Exercises and meditation
Meditation can work wonders for those anxious moments at the dental clinic. Start by closing your eyes and then take a deep breathe in. Hold for 2-3 seconds and exhale. Concentrate on your breathing pattern and repeat until you feel calm. This is a simple, easy to follow breathing exercise that many dentists recommend for reducing dental anxiety. When you are under stress, your breathing pattern changes and becomes slow, shallow and this increases anxiety. So, you need to take slow deep breathes for increasing oxygen supply and invoke hormones throughout the body to reduce stress. You can also cover your mouth with your hand and re-breathe the expelled carbon dioxide. This also reduces anxiety and relaxes your body. Controlled breathing exercise has other indirect benefits too like lowering of the heartbeat, maintaining optimum blood pressure and relaxing muscles.
4. Finding the Right Dentist
To choose the right dentist is not just a major decision but can also make us anxious. Take your time to find the right dentist with whom you will be comfortable sharing your fears and who will listen to you. Search the local listing sites, list out some name and read the reviews. Your friends and family are a great resource to know the personality of a dentist they have visited. Book an appointment with the dentist and analyze by asking yourself questions like is the dentist caring and a good listener? Are you comfortable sharing your dental fears, oral hygiene issues? Is he willing to listen to dental procedure questions? How is the team treating you? How is the hygiene and comfort of the clinic? These observations will help you analyze and conclude if your money is going to the right dentist.
Dental sedation or referred to as sleep dentistry keeps you calm, relaxed and is a great option for fighting dental anxiety. Dentists understand that the dental work can be painful and overwhelming for you, so they try to eliminate the pain as far as possible. Oral sedation is the most common technique which is safe and effective for both kids and adults.
Dentists can acquire knowledge on how to implement oral sedation, learn to manage pain and fear of patients through Adult Oral Sedation Dentistry courses. Inhaling nitrous oxide(Laughing gas) and IV sedation are other sedation techniques that are effective in controlling pain and calming you.
- Bring a Companion
It’s always a good idea to have someone from your family, friend or someone you trust with you. That person can stay with you while you undergo the dental procedure. He/She can be a good support system for you by distracting you and keeping you occupied in talks while waiting for your number in the waiting room. Knowing the fact that someone is there waiting for you is a big sigh of relief that everything will be fine. Talking to your trusted companion also keeps away unwanted thoughts from your mind thus reducing anxiety.
The above-mentioned tips should help you with facing your fears of dental anxiety. In spite of these steps, if you are not getting any relief from dental anxiety issues, it’s time to get help from a psychologist. This is your last resort to cope up with your fear if everything else fails. Visit a psychologist, address your dental phobia and they will help you get on track. Lastly, educate yourself about anxiety. Take one step at a time, slowly but steadily you will fight this. Don’t forget to reward yourself with a chocolate box after the completion of your dental procedure. You definitely need to celebrate this accomplishment!!
Ross is a blogger who loves to write especially in the Health and dental vertical. He has written many informative blogs in other verticals too like personal development, unique gifting blogs etc.