Are you nervous or afraid to visit your dentist? Perhaps you’ve skipped dental appointments in the past due to anxiety. Or, maybe you just get that shaky feeling when you walk into the office. Whatever your level of fear, there are ways you can cope with this problem so you can get a healthy, beautiful smile without stress.
Calming music and nature sounds can have a powerful effect on the mind, reducing stress and tension in the body. And, with the wide variety of options available today with just a click of a mouse, you can bring your favorite sounds with you to the dentist on your smartphone or music player.
Before your appointment, take some time to listen to different relaxation sounds or songs and choose a few that you really enjoy. Make sure you have them downloaded on your portable device and bring your earphones to your dental appointment. This simple step can help you focus on relaxing and take your mind off fears or nervousness.
Deep breathing has the power to evoke the body’s natural relaxation response, says the Harvard Medical School. You can practice simple deep breathing exercises while you’re at your dental appointment. If you feel your body tensing up or you are nervous, make an effort to breathe slowly and deeply.
Before your appointment, practice these exercises at home for several days or even weeks if you can. Not only can this help you deal with daily stress, but it will get you into the habit of relaxing before you arrive at your appointment.
Guided imagery, which helps you focus on peaceful, relaxing scenarios, is also very helpful, as is meditation. Although they may seem overwhelming at first, anyone can get started and reap their benefits. If you’re not sure where to begin, look into apps or guided meditations online that you can use on your smartphone. All you have to do is listen and follow along with the exercises.
Be Open About Fears
Some dental offices have extensive experience in treating patients with dental fear. Cindy Flanagan, DDS, sees patients regularly who have varying levels of anxiety and nervousness about the dentist. If you’re open with the dental staff at the time you make the appointment, you can feel relieved that you’ve told them about your anxieties – and it helps the staff to serve you better for your maximum comfort.
Finally, choose a dentist whom you trust. If you feel comfortable telling the dentist when you need them to stop, and asking them about everything that will be done during your appointment, you’ll feel more in control and relaxed. If you need the help of sedation or other medications, ask your dentist about these options when you make your appointment too. These can be arranged in advance so you can be prepared for a positive, comfortable visit.
If you have dental fear, Cindy Flanagan, DDS, and her compassionate team are here to help you. Contact us today to discuss your fears and how they can be alleviated during your appointment.