It is not uncommon to have some fear or anxiety about going to the dentist. Numerous films and television shows highlight this fear with visuals of white knuckles gripping a chair and sounds of drills and shouts. While this is a popular media trope, your trips to the dentist don’t have to feel this way.
Talk to Your Dentist About Your Concerns
If you are anxious about seeing a dentist, the first thing you should do is talk to your dentist about your concerns. They will be able to provide you with several options to assist you.
One way to help with dental anxiety is to use sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry is a method of administering sedatives to patients to ease anxiety and perform procedures quickly and efficiently. One type of sedation is called nitrous oxide or laughing gas. This medication will put you into a conscious state of deep relaxation.
Your dentist can always explain the procedures that you will undergo and talk you through each step. A concerned dentist will also provide you with opportunities for breaks. They can also tell you a signal that you can give them if you need them to stop.
Meditation May Help
Meditating before your dental appointment may put you in a better mindset and reduce your anxiety. While you are in your appointment, you can try a relaxation meditation method.
Focus on relaxing each of your muscles one at a time, starting from the top of your head and slowly working your way down your body to the bottom of your feet. Not only will this help you relax, but it will also occupy your time and your mind.
Try Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises can help slow your heart rate and relax your muscles if you feel stressed or anxious. While you are in the waiting room or in the chair, try taking slow deep breaths and only focusing on your breathing. Slowly inhale through your nose, and then exhale slowly through your mouth at the same rate.
Another useful breathing technique is to breathe in for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and then exhale for eight seconds. This method is known the help calm anxiety and even help get to sleep faster.
Bring a Friend
It may help you to not go to the dentist alone. Bring along a friend, loved one, or partner to comfort you through your appointment.
While your dentist cleans your teeth, your friend can hold your hand and talk you through your anxiety. If they are a good friend or partner, they may remind you of fun memories or read to you in order to keep your mind off of the dentist’s work.
Find a Distraction
While you are in the chair, bring something to distract you from your procedure. Instead of focusing on the fact that you are at the dentist getting your teeth worked on, try focusing on a game on your phone or a stress toy. You may want to bring along headphones. This way you can listen to music or an interesting podcast to occupy yourself and your thoughts.