Finding the time to visit your dentist can be difficult, especially if you have a busy schedule. For others, it can be hard to make your dental appointments for other reasons. Going to the dentist is stressful for many patients, so it may cause a great deal of anxiety. If you are hesitating to make an appointment or want to cancel due to nerves, know that you are not alone. Dental anxiety is extremely common.
Anything from a root canal to a routine cleaning can cause distress or unease in patients. However, there are many methods you can try to help ease your anxiety about going to the dentist. You just need to find which one is right for you.
Talk To Your Dentist
The best thing you can do is talk to your dentist about your fears or anxieties so that they can help you. Know that your dentist is there to help you and wants you to be successful. They wouldn’t be there if they didn’t want your oral health to be at its best or for you to feel comfortable and confident.
Sometimes the fear of the unknown causes anxiety about dental procedures. If this is the case, you can ask your dentist to walk you through your procedure step-by-step. Before your appointment begins, ask your dentist to explain what they plan to do through your appointment, which may lessen your anxiety. You can even request that your dentist tells you what they are doing and explain why as they move through your procedure.
An explanation may not be enough to reduce your anxiety, so your dentist may recommend sedation therapy for you to be comfortable during your appointment. Depending on the type of procedure, your dentist may offer oral sedation or nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas.”
You will receive nitrous oxide at the beginning of your appointment, and it wears off quickly, which means you can get back to your routine immediately. Oral sedation may be taken at home before your procedure, but it will take hours to wear off fully.
Bring A Friend
Another option to ease your anxiety is to bring a trusted friend to help you through your appointment. Sometimes, having someone there for moral support can be enough to take your mind off your fears. Your dentist may allow your trusted person to hold your hand through your appointment. Just make sure they won’t be in the way or there is no risk to you or them.
However, your friend may want to offer some distractions, such as reading from a book or a magazine. Focusing on them rather than what your dentist does can help you move through your appointment with fewer difficulties.
Take A Deep Breath
In addition to other calming techniques, you may want to consider deep breathing exercises. Breathing slowly in your nose and out of your mouth can trigger a calming effect and reduce your anxiety. Other exercises include deep “belly breathing,” breathing in for four seconds and out for eight, and many more. You can often also focus on your breathing as a distraction.