Does anxiety around dental appointments hold you back from seeking the dental treatment you need? Your worries might arise from thinking that the dental appointment might hurt. If it’s been a while since your last check-up, you might worry that your teeth are not healthy and that the dentist will say you need a lot of treatment, or if you want a Boston cosmetic dentist to help with cosmetic concerns, but you’re too nervous to ask: whatever underlies your anxiety, it is important to work through it so you can get the dental care you need. Here are some tips that can help.
1. Come talk to a Dentist
Many people suffer from dental anxiety. All good dentists are used to dealing with anxious patients and have developed techniques to help people like you cope. The most important thing is to tell us that you feel anxious, so we know that you need extra support, which we are happy to provide.
When you schedule a check-up, let the receptionist know that you have anxiety about seeing the dentist. Remind the dentist when you arrive for your appointment. When they know you are anxious, dental staff can slow down and help you to put coping strategies in place to feel calmer. You might like to agree in advance on a signal that you would like to take a break, such as raising your hand.
If you would like to schedule an appointment simply to talk to a dentist before you go ahead with treatment or cleaning, that is fine. You can also call ahead of a scheduled appointment to ask questions about what will happen. Our staff is always happy to provide information about sedation as well, so you know what to expect.
2. Use Distractions
Many people find it helpful to distract themselves during a dental appointment, so they do not focus on scary details such as the sound of a drill. You can wear earphones that play music or a podcast to help you feel calmer. You can also bring a fidget spinner or stress ball to give you something to do with your hands.
For some people, visualization techniques are the most effective distraction. Practice ahead of time imagining yourself in a happy and safe place, so you can immediately bring these images to mind during the dental visit.
3. Try Breathing Exercises
Many people find breathing exercises helpful to relax their bodies and mind. When you are anxious, it is normal for your breathing to become rapid and shallow. Counteract this anxiety response by breathing in slowly, taking the inhale all the way into your belly, and then breathing out for an equally long time. You can begin this breathing exercise before your appointment and continue it while you are in the dental chair.
Remember — you are not alone in feeling anxious about dental appointments. Let us know how you are feeling and we will always do our best to help you cope. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.