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Ways to Cope with Dental Fears

Ways to Cope with Dental anxiety

Visiting a dental studio is always of critical importance to ensure proper oral hygiene. But dental anxiety prevents many from making dental appointments. It is a common problem that affects around 36% of people.

Skipping dental appointments due to dental anxiety is not the solution, rather, it is important to find ways to cope with dental anxiety. Dental anxiety can affect individuals of any age group. Here are some easy ways to cope with your dental fears and maintain your oral health-

Talk About the Fears to Your Dentist

Do not hesitate to talk to your dentist about your dental fears. A proficient dentist is able to make the overall dental procedure relatively easier for you especially if you share details of what worries you the most. Dentists have years of experience in dealing with different clients and their symptoms of dental anxiety. They can explain the process from start to finish and make you comfortable with the treatment. They can even suggest specific techniques that are helpful to make you feel more relaxed during the appointment. After communicating with your dentist and discussing the recommended dental procedures, you will experience reduced dental anxiety. The action of expressing your fears is also therapeutic and can lower anxiety by itself.

Try Meditation

Some people feel more anxious while waiting at the dental studio or sitting on the dental chair. At that moment, practicing meditation is the easiest way to stay calm and reduce dental anxiety. It promotes focus, awareness, and muscle relaxation. Once you sit on the dental chair, close your eyes and focus on different parts of the body to release stress. You can try meditation before and during the appointments to stay calm. Let the dental staff know prior to meditating in the dental chair so they are aware and do not interrupt you before you are done.

Relax Your Mind with Breathing Exercises

Deep breathing exercises are helpful in relaxing your mind and getting rid of dental anxiety. You have to close your eyes, inhale through your nose, hold for a few seconds and then exhale through your mouth slowly. Repeating the process will reduce your fear during dental appointments. A popular and effective method for relaxation breathing is “box breathing”

Breathe out slowly, releasing all the air from your lungs.

How to do box breathing

  1. Breathe out slowly, releasing all the air from your lungs.
  2. Breathe in through your nose as you slowly count to four in your head. …
  3. Hold your breath for a count of four.
  4. Exhale for another count of four.
  5. Hold your breath again for a count of four.
  6. Repeat for three to four rounds.

Distractions will Help!

Having a distraction can also help in relieving dental anxiety and fear. It is good if you discuss it with the dentist beforehand. Try watching a movie or TV if you can during your appointment, or you can listen to your favorite music by wearing headphones.

Visit with Your Friend

Support from your family member or a friend can help to distract your mind. You can ask your dentist to bring a friend during an appointment. The presence of your buddy will help you feel comfortable, safe, and relaxed during the dental procedure. Most dental offices will be open to this so long as the friend is being supportive. 

Conscious Sedation Drugs

This is the most common technique used by dentists to reduce dental anxiety in patients. This is used to deal with moderate to extreme dental fear. Your dentist gives you a conscious sedation drug a few hours before the appointment. With this, you won’t sleep during the treatment. You remain responsive, conscious, and relaxed.

Go Nostalgic!

It involves visualizing happy moments from positive past memories. You can go to your happy place, enjoy yourself with your loved ones, and remember those funny moments and laughs. Going nostalgic will help you feel more comfortable and relaxed. It will calm your mind during the appointments.  A helpful addition to facilitating reliving positive memories is the introduction of music you love from the past.

Get Medicine to Relieve Anxiety

Some dentists prescribe anxiety-relieving meditation to their patients to lessen their stress before the appointment. This option is used to tackle moderate anxiety. You can ask your dentist about the time to take that medicine.

What are the common symptoms of dental anxiety?

Some people become uneasy during dental appointments, while others have distressing symptoms such as-

  • Panic attacks
  • Heart palpitations
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Excessive sweating
  • Feeling faint
  • Low blood pressure
  • Crying

Maintaining oral hygiene is one of the important aspects of your overall well-being. Avoiding and postponing dental appointments can make the situation worse. The above-mentioned ways are very helpful in easing your mind about scheduling a dental appointment and ensuring your oral health. It is beneficial to discuss your dental fears with your dentist as it will lessen your stress. It may take some time and effort, but dentists will accommodate your needs.

There are many dental studios that take dental anxiety seriously and help overcome stress in patients. Peace of Mind Dental Studio is the best of all. All dentists are well-qualified and experienced in delivering stress-free dental care services. From regular dental checkups to major dental surgeries like therapeutic interventions, they make everything smoother and easier. They discuss the procedures in detail from the start and suggest the best one that suits all your requirements.

Written by Dr. Silverman

Dr. Silverman is the co-founder of Peace of Mind Dental, a Chandler Arizona, general dentistry practice.