Dental Anxiety: Different Ways To Stop Fearing Your Dentist

If you ever get nervous, just thinking about going to your local Mandurah dentist like Peel Dental Studio, you’re not alone. Perhaps you’re scared the visit might hurt, or you haven’t been in a while and not sure what the dentist will find. Whatever your reason, the right dental team will make sure your dental and your emotional health are taken care of. The more you delay – or don’t go – to the dentist, the higher your risk of developing dental problems that will make gearing up for future dental visits more difficult. In fact, seeing your Mandurah dentist regularly can actually make the entire process – from making an appointment to sailing through it – much easier on many levels.

Use these strategies at your next appointment to help ease your anxiety and strengthen your smile.

Speak up

Anyone with anxiety knows sharing your feelings makes a world of difference. If you’re tense or anxious, do yourself a favour and get your concerns off your chest. Your dentist and dental team are better able to treat you if they know your needs.

  • Tell your dentist about your anxiety. When you book your appointment, tell the receptionist you’re nervous about dental visits. Remind the dentist and dental staff about your anxiety when you arrive. Share any bad experiences you may have had in the past, and ask for suggestions on coping strategies.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Sometimes knowing what is going to happen alleviates any fears of the unknown.
  • Agree on a signal. Let your dentist know by raising your hand if you need to take a break during an exam.
  • If you experience pain even with a local anesthetic, tell your dentist. Some patients get embarrassed about their pain tolerance or don’t want to interrupt a dentist during a procedure. Please talk with your dentist about pain before it starts so your dentist knows how to communicate with you and make it more comfortable.

Distract yourself

Taking your mind off the exam may seem impossible when you’re nervous, but there are some things that can help distract your thoughts.

  • Wear headphones. If the sound of the drill bothers you, bring headphones so you can listen to your favourite music or audiobook.
  • Occupy your hands by squeezing a stress ball or playing with a small handheld object, like a fidget spinner.
  • Imagine your happy place and visualize yourself at a relaxing beach or garden.

Use mindfulness techniques

Relaxation starts in the mind. Try deep breathing exercises to help relax tension in your muscles.

  • Count your breaths. Inhale slowly and then exhale for the same number of counts. Do this five times while you’re waiting for your appointment, or during breaks while you’re sitting in the dental chair.
  • Do a body scan. Concentrate on relaxing your muscles, one body part at a time. Start with your head and work your way down to your toes. For example, you can focus on releasing tension starting in your forehead, then your cheeks, your neck and down the rest of your body.

Dr. Ross Bailey

https://peeldentalstudio.com.au

Dr Bailey currently serves on the Australian Dental Association as immediate Past President, and before this has held office as President, Treasurer and Country Councillor. He is on the Australian Dental Association Federal Council and has always been keen to give back to the profession that has been his life. He has tutored young dentists at the Oral Health Centre in Perth, which he has held for over 20 years.