Intense fear and anxiety often cause individuals to postpone dental visits, resulting in a significant number of people only seeking dental care when absolutely necessary (approximately 20% of Americans). Additionally, nearly eight percent of individuals completely avoid going to the dentist due to these fears and anxieties.
Dealing with dental anxiety can be challenging, but there are several strategies that can help you overcome it. Here are some tips:
1. Communicate with your dentist
Inform your dentist about your dental anxiety. A compassionate and understanding dentist can tailor their approach to help you feel more comfortable. They can explain procedures in detail, answer your questions, and address any concerns you may have.
2. Choose the right dentist
Look for a dentist who specializes in treating patients with dental anxiety or who has a reputation for being gentle and patient. Consider seeking recommendations from friends, family, or online reviews.
3. Practice relaxation techniques
Learn and practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation. These techniques can help you calm your mind and body before and during dental appointments.
4. Gradual desensitization
If your dental anxiety is severe, consider a gradual desensitization approach. Start with short, low-stress dental visits, such as a simple examination or teeth cleaning. As you become more comfortable, gradually progress to more involved procedures.
5. Distraction techniques
Bring headphones and listen to soothing music or audiobooks during dental procedures to divert your attention. Some dental offices even provide TVs or virtual reality headsets for distraction.
6. Consider sedation options
Talk to your dentist about sedation options such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or oral sedation. These can help you relax and reduce anxiety during dental treatments.
7. Bring a support person
Have a trusted friend or family member accompany you to your dental appointments for emotional support. Their presence can provide comfort and reassurance.
8. Educate yourself
Understanding the dental procedures and equipment involved can demystify the process and alleviate anxiety. Ask your dentist to explain the steps involved in the treatment and what to expect.
9. Take breaks when needed
If you feel overwhelmed during the procedure, establish a signal with your dentist, such as raising your hand, to take a short break. This can give you a sense of control and allow you to regroup.
Overcoming dental anxiety takes time and patience. With the right support and techniques, you can gradually reduce your anxiety and have a positive dental experience.
If you experience dental anxiety, we are here to assist you. At Paradise Dental Associates, our goal is to ensure the utmost comfort, relaxation, and ease for each and every patient we serve.