Managing Your Dental Anxiety

5 Handy Tips for Managing Your Dental Anxiety

Does the thought of going to the dentist give you the jitters? According to a study in the Journal of Dental Hygiene, 10-20% of the population have dental anxiety. Previous bad experiences at the dentist, general anxiety, and the thought of painful procedures could all contribute to anxiety. However, you don’t have to let fear keep you from getting the healthcare you need. Discover five handy techniques to manage your dental anxiety for good.

Tip #1: Be Proactive with Relaxation Techniques

Practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing can help lower your anxiety levels before you meet with the dentist. When you are experiencing anxiety, your nervous system gets into action, releasing stress hormones.

Consequently, your body has an increased heart rate and tense muscles ready for response. According to the University of Michigan, relaxation reduces anxiety in the body by lowering this muscle tension and slowing down breathing. So, inhale air slowly, allowing your abdomen to expand, then exhale gradually to induce a state of calm.

Tip #2: Find a Dentist You’re Comfortable Around

Another proactive tip is to find a dentist who makes you feel calm and safe. When looking for a dentist in Fuquay Varina, choose one with empathy and understanding. You’ll know they’re the right match because of their patient-centred approach. For instance, they’ll clearly explain the procedure and treatment options. An understanding dentist also employs active listening with their patients.

Tip #3: Consider Sedation Options

Sedation medication can help you manage anxiety by inducing a state of relaxation and calmness. Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, affects the central nervous system by calming it. Sedation also affects the perception of pain by interfering with pain signals.

Thus, it could help you go through painful procedures without experiencing the whole range of pain. Sometimes dentists don’t have sedation on the table because some procedures are minimally invasive and relatively painless. The best approach is to ask the dentist for all the options.

Tip#4: Create a Worthwhile Distraction

When you are in a state of anxiety, your body has heightened emotional and psychological responses. Distractions help pull your attention away from these anxiety-inducing stimuli, which helps interrupt the cycle of anxious thoughts and physical reactions. A practical tip is to listen to soothing music as the doctor attends to you. Always talk with the dental nurse to know what’s allowed in the room.

Tip #5: Agree on a Safe Signal with the Dentist

The NHS Inform suggests agreeing on a safe signal with the dentist before any procedure starts. A safe signal is a proactive measure to give you a way out if the procedure overwhelms you. It allows you to communicate with the doctor without any verbalization. The signal can be as simple as raising your hand or tapping the dental chair. A safe signal can help restore a sense of control because you feel empowered.

Take Away

Oral health conditions can worsen because anxiety and fear hold you back from seeing a dentist. The good part is you can overcome the anxiety with the above-proven strategies, from open communication to practicing breathing exercises.

Remember, you have the ability in your hands to take charge of your oral health by not letting fear stop you. If anxiety persists, it may be helpful to see a professional therapist who deals with similar cases. That said, seasoned dentists guarantee a smooth experience devoid of worries. Visit Hamby Family Dental Center for dental treatments, and anxiety will be the least of your worries.

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