July 20, 2024

Healthy Clean Dental

Maintain Your Dental Health

How to Overcome Dental Anxiety

4 min read

Dental anxiety is an increasingly recognised issue responsible for serious health problems related to a lack of dental care, worsening oral health and even life-threatening consequences.

Claiming that you can control dental anxiety and phobias is great news: communication, distraction techniques, treatment options in sedation dentistry and therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be applied. Read on for our best tips that can help you to control them!

Communicate with Your Dentist

Telling your dentist about your fear will enable him or her to help – meaning they’re more likely to be accommodating and offer coping strategies that may actually help them. For some people with dental fear, it can be embarrassing to see a hygienist or dentist come so close to their face; others may worry about how their teeth look or smell, or excessively fuss about body odour. People with phobias often feel helpless during an appointment. Being part of an online forum of people with dental anxiety could lead to very real benefits – practical tips for pain reduction and the building of trusting relationships with other patients who go through the same experience.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Progressive relaxation protocols such as breathing exercises, meditation and visualisation might well assist in relaxing both the body and the mind, and they might also help to relax the nervous system during dental treatment. Practice these techniques before your appointment to help prepare yourself for what you might find a challenging visit. If possible, enlist an anxious friend or loved one to go with you, who can provide extra support. Other approaches might include self-directed positive talk or mantras; a mobile device loaded up with music or TV programmes that you can listen to or watch during visits; even a warm blanket you can wrap yourself up in during appointments. And ask your dentist about short-term anti-anxiety medications. Again, depending on your situation, this might be one of the most effective fear control strategies.

Bring Distractions

Dental fear knows no age and can have multiple aetiologies, ranging from discomfort around dental procedures performed in the past to noise phobia of dentists’ drill or even an overall sense of anxiety. Do not let your dental anxiety stop you from getting dental care: there are several strategies available that might alleviate your fears. If the thought of sharing intimate details about your body with a stranger causes you anxiety, music or a movie or TV show you truly enjoy can help keep you distracted throughout an appointment. Having a friend or family members present can offer the advantages of companionship as well as a distraction. Breathing exercises and techniques (such as diaphragmatic breathing) as well as cognitive-behavioural therapy and hypnotherapy have been shown to be useful for this. These additional tools can help patients cope with dental visits better, in combination with the traditional methods and with professional help.

Schedule Regular Appointments

Avoiding the dentist due to nervousness isn’t just inconvenient – it can also result in serious consequences. If you leave it longer and longer between hygienist visits, the fewer and fewer things your dentist will be able to help you with before they snowball into larger and more expensive issues to fix. There are many ways you can help alleviate your dental anxiety. By talking with your dentist before an appointment, practising relaxation techniques, taking something to distract you with during the appointment, and arriving a little early, you will be able to make your appointments more manageable and your overall experience much better. All it takes to mitigate dental anxiety in 2022 is a team of people who understand your angst and make the effort to work through it with you. You can do this starting today. You will never regret having taken steps toward greater oral health – we promise.

Seek Support

For those of you who have dental anxiety, and there are many of you, please overcome your fears and contact someone. If you don’t address them, it’s only going to deteriorate and become more complicated and costly in the long run, as you will ultimately need more invasive procedures and spend more money. When you communicate with your dentist about your fears and anxieties, you will help him or her understand your issues and find ways that you can feel more comfortable. Breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, distractions and other coping mechanisms can all help with your dental anxiety. And remember, the more you go, the more comfortable it will get! Regular sessions can help them detect early signs of mouth cancers. Following these tips will more effectively manage your dental anxiety and help you take better care of your oral health.

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