More than 35% of people in the United States deal with anxiety or fears when going to the dentist.
Although the dentist is there to help you and improve your health, the procedures can still be daunting.
If your fear of the dentist is beginning to hinder your mental health, there are many tips you can try.
Continue reading to discover all of the different ways to overcome anxiety at the dentist’s office!
Listen to Music
One of the best ways to overcome anxiety at the dental office is to bring a set of headphones and listen to music.
Listening to music while the dental team is working on your mouth can make a big difference. Your mind will draw you to another place of happiness and joy when you put your favorite songs on. Many people recommend listening to meditation music to help calm the heart rate and put you in a calm state.
Try to bring smaller headphones, such as earbuds, so that they don’t get in the way. Large headphones might be uncomfortable in the chair with other equipment around.
Find a Good Dentist
If you want to start overcoming your dental anxiety and fears, you should start with finding a good dentist.
Going to the same dentist, just because you always have, doesn’t mean it is the right fit. If you are having issues with your current dentist, take the time to explore other options. This is especially a good idea if the dental team isn’t listening to your worries and addressing them.
Asking for references from friends and family is often a great way to find a good dentist. Keep in mind that this process may take time but will be worth it in the end.
Talk to Your Dental Team
Part of overcoming health anxiety at the dentist is being honest with yourself and talking to your team.
Dental teams are more than likely familiar with working with patients who have fears and anxiety. The dental team may be able to approach your procedures differently to help make you feel more comfortable. Many professionals will talk you through what they are doing and what is coming next to provide anxiety relief.
Although your doctor and dental hygienists work alongside each other, it can be helpful to talk to each of them about your concerns. Simply talking about your worries can help you work through the struggle and get closer to a cleaner mouth.
Give Yourself Time
Rushing to appointments and schedule dental exams on high-stress days can worsen your anxiety.
When making appointments, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to prepare for the appointment and attend it. Overcoming fear is a process that will improve your well-being over time and you must be patient with yourself.
Try making your appointments for the dentist at the end of the workday so that you don’t have to go back into the office. If you can, taking a day or half a day off of work can also help you remain calm.
Meditation is one of the strongest methods of overcoming anxiety, no matter what the fear is stemming from.
Meditation involves deep breathing techniques that will keep your mind and body in check. It helps control your fears and heart rate, along with put you in a better mental state. Not only does meditation require breathing techniques but also visualization.
Visualization is a great method for working through anxieties because you can take your mind to a completely separate place. Practice meditation leading up to and during your appointment.
Learn About Upcoming Procedures
By learning about your upcoming procedures you can better prepare yourself for dental care.
Dental procedures can be intimidating if you don’t know what will happen during them. Most people don’t realize how quickly these procedures can be done, which can help calm your nerves.
It is important to note, that you should never spiral down the internet looking at what could be wrong with your mouth. Make sure that you only do enough research to educate yourself and prepare. Avoid self-diagnosing and seek help from professionals instead.
Make Small Goals
Creating small goals can help you overcome the big fears of the dentist’s office.
Talk with your dentist, or sit down and think to yourself, about all of the goals that you can work on. If you struggle to attend appointments start by making a goal of creating your appointment and sticking with it.
From that goal, you can create a goal about walking into the office and checking in. This is where a lot of the anxiety starts, while you are in the waiting room. Depending on the severity of your anxiety, you can make realistic goals every step of the way.
Discuss Medications or Sedation
Some people have dental anxieties that are so severe, they require medication.
If you have spoken with your doctor after trying various techniques, they may recommend medication. Many times, dentists prescribe anti-anxiety medications or nitrous oxide to help calm your nerves. Sedation medications can consist of something like Benedryl, nitrous oxide, or even more potent options.
Keep in mind that you will need to obtain a prescription for these medications and should always get approval from the dentist.
Have You Tried These Ways to Overcome Anxiety?
Learning all of the different ways to overcome anxiety for a dentist appointment can make a big difference.
By utilizing this guide, you can try various methods that will help keep you calm whether you are going in for a cleaning or to get a cavity filled. By listening to music and meditating, you can put yourself in a better place, that isn’t full of fear or anxiety.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your dental team about your anxieties, they might be able to provide more relief.
Be sure to check out our blog for more articles about overcoming anxiety and taking back control of your life!