Not everyone is fond of going to the dentist and no, we’re not just talking about kids — it is a fact that applies even to adults. There is just something about a dental appointment that makes many of us nervous. However, dental anxiety should not be a reason for you to skip a trip to the dentist. Remember that maintaining good dental health is just as important as proper exercise and diet to keep our entire body in good condition. What you need to do is to learn and apply some tips on how to calm your dental anxiety.
What is Dental Anxiety?
It is a disorder that causes nervousness and stress when going through or even before a dental check-up or procedure. It results in people consciously avoiding visits to dental clinics. Some signs of dental anxiety include trouble sleeping, increased feelings of uneasiness, change of mood, and feeling physically ill just before the dental appointment. Severe dental anxiety leads to phobia, which is a more serious condition wherein anxiousness is replaced by unreasonable fear when facing the prospect of a dental visit.
What are the causes?
There are reasons behind people’s dental anxiety. Some of them include:
- Being afraid of the pain – This is the most popular reason why many individuals are reluctant to see a dentist. It includes the fear of injection pain and the fear that the anesthesia will not work. Let’s admit it, the prospect of getting yourself physically hurt isn’t a very encouraging thought.
- Bad experiences from previous appointments – Just like in many aspects of life, a bad experience can bring trauma to anyone. If your last trip to the dentist brought you physical pain, embarrassment, humiliation, or any uncomfortable feeling, it will definitely cause anxiety to do another one.
- Feeling of having no control and helplessness – Some people do not sit well with the idea of not being in control of a situation. Especially, for those who have trust issues with other people. The feeling of helplessness when lying on a dental chair, the dentist standing over you, and with your mouth wide-open is a really big turn-off for some individuals.
- Preconceived fear – Many adults carelessly tell bad stories about going to the dentist, which results in children having preconceived fear even before their first dental appointment. This fear can stay with the kids until they grow up. Preconceived fear may also be a result of viewing negative news, videos or images from the media or the internet.
- Unprofessional Dental Practitioners – This may be the least cause of dental anxiety, but sadly it does happen. Few patients experience unprofessional behaviours from dental practitioners, which give a negative perception that the same will happen in all dental appointments.
What are some ways to overcome Dental Anxiety?
The following behavioral methods can help manage your dental anxiety next time you visit a dentist:
1. Talk to your dentist
A very good way to ease your anxiety is to talk about it with your dentist. Doing so will help build trust between the two of you and will help ease some of your worries right away. Let your dentist know you experience anxiety and be open about the reasons causing it. Ask the dentist for ways to help you deal with anxiety and your dentist will be more than happy to help you.
If fear of pain is the cause of your anxiety, tell your dentist about it so he can find a way to make the consultation more comfortable for you. Don’t hesitate to communicate what you feel even during the dental procedure.
2. Create Distractions
Before you see the dentist, find ways to shift your focus on other things. It will help you forget what’s causing your anxiety and will help relax your mind. Try listening to some music or audiobook. Watch some funny videos on YouTube. At the dental clinic, you can also read a book while waiting for your turn. Remember, your thoughts affect your emotions.
3. Practice breathing exercises
Speaking of relaxing, another way to ease your mind is to practice deep breathing. It will not only help relax the mind, but also your muscles. Every time you feel nervous, breathe-in and breathe-out slowly and deeply. Focus your attention on it. As your heart starts beating more slowly, focus on calming your muscles. Repeat this process until you feel more relaxed.
4. Be careful about what you eat
One of the best tips on how to calm your dental anxiety is to stay away from foods that will worsen your anxiety, like caffeinated drinks, sugary foods, and alcoholic beverages. Eat food that are known to have a calming effect such as protein-rich foods (meat, fish, avocados, nuts, etc.), yogurt and other sources of probiotics, fruits and vegetables.
5. Ask for Professional Help
If you think your dental anxiety needs a deeper solution, you can always consult with a professional psychiatrist so you can go through counselling, therapy, and treatment. You can also look online for some discussion groups, where you can talk to other people who are experiencing the same problem. The important thing is not to deal with it alone. Talk to your family and friends. Remember that you are not the only one with dental anxiety.
6. Choose the best Dental Professionals
These tips on how to calm dental anxiety are very effective with the help of the best dentists and nurses who cares for their patients’ welfare. Choose the dental healthcare with technology-advanced equipment, tools, and facilities so you will feel safe and secured, just like Pymble Dental in Pymble, NSW. Feel free to talk to our family dentists and support staff with your dental anxiety problems. We will assure you of premium all-round service and treatment that is suited to your needs.