When we’re in an uncertain or threatening situation, we respond with strong emotion: Fear and anxiety are common feelings among those who dread their dental check-ups.
Many patients worry that they’ll experience severe pain at the dentist’s office. They may feel uneasy at the thought of needles or dental tools. The anxiety that results is so strong that they might put off making dental appointments, even if they’re suffering from a toothache.
This anxiety comes at a cost: the health of your smile. Every time you miss a dental cleaning, tartar and plaque accumulate on your teeth. This increases your risk of developing cavities or losing a tooth.
You want to protect your smile, but anxiety gets in the way of that. Don’t let it compromise your smile—combat it with our dental anxiety tips. Make your next dental visit less stressful by using these strategies:
Some patients find dental appointments uncomfortable because they feel like they have no control. While a dentist works on their teeth, they must hold their mouths open in a way that makes it difficult to talk. How can you communicate with your dentist if you can’t speak clearly?
Instead of verbalizing your concerns, you can use hand signals instead. This can be a simple gesture, such as raising your hand. Whenever you do so, it tells your dentist that you need a break. You can use these signals as many times as you need to feel comfortable throughout your appointment.
Does your anxiety revolve around uncertainty? You may not know what exactly your dentist is doing to your teeth. Ask them to explain each step to you as they work.
Drown Out Other Sounds
Anxiety can be triggered by certain cues, like the sound of a drill or water line. But if you block out these sounds, you can prevent your body from reacting to them. You can bring a pair of earplugs, or use headphones and play relaxing music.
Try to distract your mind, too. You can do this by focusing your attention on things other than your procedure. For example, think about something steady and reassuring, like your breath. Notice how each time you inhale, your chest slowly rises and falls.
Talk To Your Doctor
Is your anxiety preventing you from taking care of your body? If you neglect your oral health, it could lead to conditions such as periodontal disease or respiratory infections.
What should you do if your dental anxiety seems unmanageable? At this point, it’s best to contact a medical professional. They can recommend a cognitive behavioural therapist, who can teach you new ways to cope with anxiety.
Alternatively, they may prescribe anti-anxiety medication to use before an appointment. We suggest trying these other coping techniques first to avoid the side effects of medication. However, this can be helpful for those who have severe dental phobias.
Finding The Right Dentist
We want to leave you with one last important takeaway: tell your dentist about your dental anxiety. By making your dentist aware of your condition, they can alter your appointment and make sure you feel comfortable.
At Kingsway Dental, we do our best to accommodate all of our patients and ensure their visit is as pleasant as possible. If you want to learn more about our services, contact Kingsway Dental today.