Does the thought of going to the dentist make you feel uneasy, nervous, or scared? Don't worry, you're not alone. Experiencing feelings of fear or anxiousness about visiting the dentist is more common than you think. It’s estimated that about 36 percent of people in the U.S. fear dental treatment.
Although dental anxiety is common, there are many things you can do to calm your nerves and make you feel confident about your visits to keep up your oral health. Here are our top 5 ways to experience anxiety relief at the dentist.
If you have dental anxiety, you may be more likely to put off dental visits. Unfortunately, postponing visits and not getting the proper care you need can lead to poor oral health down the line. Luckily, there are things you can do to ease dental anxiety to make your dental visits more enjoyable.
The best way to ease dental anxiety is to talk about it with your dental team. If the appointment makes you nervous, tell them! They'll know to explain each step of your appointment so you know what to expect from start to finish. They may also guide you through other anxiety relief techniques of their own.
Many dental offices now offer the option for patients to watch TV during their appointment. If your dentist doesn't provide headphones, feel free to bring your own and listen to a show, movie, podcast, or music. Any of these options will help mute the sound of anxiety-inducing instruments.
Meditation is a great way to calm both your mental and physical self before, during, and after a dental visit. It doesn't have to be elaborate, but even just taking the time to focus on your breathing can help. Take deep breaths in and long breaths out and make a note of how you feel while doing it. If you brought headphones, feel free to use a meditation app for different guided meditations.
If the support of friends and family eases your mind, bringing someone close to you may make you feel more comfortable during your visit. Ask your dental office if they're OK with having a companion sit in the room with you.
If natural remedies don't provide you the anxiety relief you're looking for, your dentist may be able to prescribe anti-anxiety medication for you to take before an appointment. You and your dentist may also discuss the possibility of sedation and decide that something like nitrous oxide (laughing gas) may be an option to keep you calm.
At the end of the day, you can't hide from the dentist forever. Dental visits are essential for your oral and overall health, so it's important that you invest the time in finding ways to relieve your dental anxiety. Next time you have a dental appointment, try the tips above!