Dental anxiety is a ubiquitous experience that, unfortunately, stops many people from getting the dental care they need. There are various elements to dental anxiety. Some patients feel concerned about the possibility of pain, others feeling embarrassed about their oral health, and some worrying they won’t have enough money to cover the treatment cost.
Whatever the cause of the anxiety is, overcoming these fears is crucial for oral health. If the thought of going to the dentist makes you feel stressed, follow these tips about how to get over dental anxiety.
How to Get Over Dental Anxiety?
Regular check-ups and preventative dentistry can help patients avoid more complex dental issues in the future, making overcoming dental anxiety a must. The first step to learning how to get over dental anxiety is by communicating with your dentist.
For people who feel apprehensive about going to the dentist, the idea of having a chat with a dental professional about their issues may seem intimidating, but dentists treat patients with dental anxiety regularly and have tips and tricks to make you feel more relaxed. Sharing your fears with the dental staff allows them to be sensitive to your concerns.
Visit the Dental Surgery
Often the fear of the unknown exacerbates anxiety, so get to know your dental surgery before your first appointment. Contact the practice ahead of time and explain that you experience dental anxiety and would like to visit before your first consultation. They may be willing to show you the treatment rooms and introduce you to your dentist to help you conquer your nerves.
Your first appointment with your dentist will be a check-up, so there’s no need to worry about any dental procedures happening. However, if you feel that even a check-up is too much for the first day, ask your dentist if you can book an appointment where you simply sit in the chair and talk to the dentist. These small steps can help you feel more at ease.
Use Hand Signals
The idea that you might be unable to communicate with your dentist during dental procedures is a significant worry for anxious patients. If this is something you dread, take a few minutes to decide on some hand signals with your dentist at the beginning of your appointment. Knowing that you can say ‘stop’ when you need to is empowering.
Select Your Appointment Time Carefully
Pick an appointment time that will be the least stressful for you. An early morning appointment can help you avoid spending the whole day dwelling on it, which suits many people with dental anxiety. However, if the morning is a hectic time of the day for you, you may prefer a later slot. Whatever schedule you go for, give yourself enough time, so you don’t feel rushed on top of everything else. You could even plan a treat for yourself afterwards as something to look forward to, like meeting a friend.
Practice Calming Breathing
Anxiety tends to affect the way we breathe. Nervous, short, shallow breaths reduce oxygen levels which exacerbates feelings of stress. Taking deep, measured breaths when you’re at the dentist helps to calm you down. Practising relaxing breathing techniques at home will give you a helpful tool during your appointment.
In line with our holistic, patient-centric approach to dentistry, at Dentistry on Solent, we assist patients with relaxation therapy when required.
Listen to Music
The sounds of equipment being used during dental procedures can make some patients feel panicked. Listening to music or a podcast through earphones during your appointment drowns out unpleasant sounds and distracts you from what’s going on around you.
At Bella Vista, we offer noise-cancelling headphones and a ceiling-mounted LCD monitor to keep you entertained and calm during treatment.
Explore Pain Relief Options
Fear of pain is one of the most common triggers for patients with dental anxiety. However, they are often unaware of the pain relief options their dentist has. For instance, many practices, including Bella Vista, offer sleep dentistry and ‘happy gas’, a safe conscious sedation technique designed to make nervous patients feel more relaxed whilst undergoing treatment.
If you’ve been avoiding going to the dentist for many years, you may be surprised to know that advancements in dental technology have made dental procedures a less uncomfortable experience. For instance, in Bella Vista, we use soft tissue laser treatment for many dental procedures which dramatically reduces pain and discomfort.
Discuss Payment Plans With Your Dental Practice
Financial worries should not increase your dental anxiety or hinder your ability to receive adequate dental care. If this is one of your concerns, contact your dentist to discuss their available payment plans.
Dentistry on Solent is affiliated with MiFund, which offers patients the opportunity to distribute the cost of treatment over a set period, so they don’t have to wait until they have the cash to receive necessary dental care.
Choose an Understanding Dental Practice
If you experience dental anxiety, you may require a dental practice that is particularly sensitive to your fears to make you feel understood and as calm as possible. Bella Vista’s holistic approach means that the whole team at Dentistry in Solent is devoted to ensuring you receive the best care in every sense.
As soon as you arrive at our tranquil clinic you will receive a warm welcome. Our waiting area is designed to be a peaceful space you can unwind before your appointment, and we do everything we can to make you feel at home, including offering free Wi-Fi so you can receive supportive messages from friends.
If you feel that our brand of caring, gentle dentistry would help you overcome your dental fears, contact Dentistry on Solent today on (02) 9158 6137 to schedule your initial consultation.