Preventing Dental Anxiety
If you struggle with anxiety before visiting your local dentist, you’re not alone. Many people throughout the country avoid their periodic dental appointments because of a deep-seated fear. Some struggle with an actual dental phobia, which is a serious anxiety condition that causes bouts of panic. However, for most, fear is caused by something a little more tangible, whether it be a bad dental experience or even just the sterile, unfamiliar surroundings.
Here we’ll discuss some of the most common causes of dental anxiety as well as some tips you can try to help yourself overcome dental fear. After all, we want to ensure you have a wonderful smile before, during and after your dental procedure.
Common Reasons for Dental Anxiety
Anxiety before a dental appointment is a widespread phenomenon. And there are a number of different things that can cause people to feel fear or trepidation about going to the dentist. Unfortunately, sometimes people allow these fears to deter them from their regular dental checkups, which are an essential aspect of oral health. Some of the most common stressors that cause anxiety of the dentist include:
- Anticipation of pain
- Worry that the dentist will rush or neglect individual concerns
- Negative memories of a past experiences
- The sterile smell or appearance of some dental offices
- Interruption of the normal day’s routine
- Loss of control or feelings of helplessness
If dental fear keeps you from going to the dentist, you can take some steps to start overcoming this anxiety. After all, without regular dental checkups, serious oral health concerns can develop. So here are our suggestions on how to make a trip to the dentist a positive experience.
Start With Communication
We’ve seen a lot of dental anxiety over the years, so you can feel free to be open and honest about your concerns, and we’ll do everything in our power to alleviate your fears. If you’re struggling with anxiety, let your dental hygienist and your dentist know. When you feel informed and prepared, it allows you to take control of your fear. This frank discussion also helps us so that we can discuss options that may alleviate your tension.
Focus on Your Breathing
When people are nervous, they tend to hold their breath. This simple act decreases your oxygen levels, which could actually produce or increase feelings of panic. If you focus on taking slow, regular breaths, on the other hand, it will help distract you and reduce your body’s stress levels.
Agree on Hand Signals
If you need your dentist or dental hygienist to stop what they’re doing, the use of hand signals is an effective method. They’ll know you need a break or feel uncomfortable, and you’ll feel more in control.
Choose a Less Stressful Appointment Time
Like any business, we have peak hours when we get a large number of patients. However, if you come on a slow day or when we have fewer people waiting, it may help you to feel less rushed or pressured. Ask us about our slower operating times so that you can relax during your appointment.
Get Your Mind on Something Else
Sometimes listening to music or watching television allows you to focus on something other than what’s going on. You’re welcome to bring your headphones so that you can listen to music on your phone.
Different Sedation Options
Fear of pain should not prevent you from visiting the dentist. These days, there are several sedation options available that allow our patients to relax as they have a dental procedure. If you’re interested, ask the team at Alpen Dental for more information. We’ll ensure that you’re fully informed about all sedation choices so that you can pick the right option for you.
Don’t let fear of the dentist keep you from receiving the oral care you need. Contact Alpen Dental today to schedule your appointment with our friendly team.