Tips for Overcoming Dental Anxiety

Posted by El Camino Dental Arts on Mar 26 2018, 02:10 AM

Dental anxiety has become quite common.  The average person has at least a little bit of anxiety and/or fear about visiting the dentist.  Some are fearful of needles. Others dislike drills. Some have had negative experiences with the dentist in the past that they have not been able to block out.

If you have dental anxiety, follow the tips set forth below and you will find dental visits go much smoother:
Discuss Your Dental Anxiety With the Dentist

Do not be shy about your dental anxiety.  The treatment sessions at the dentist's office will prove that much easier if you are willing to let the dentist know about your anxiety.  If your dentist is aware of your anxiety, he or she will be able to make minor alterations in an attempt to increase your comfort. In fact, the dentist might explain what is happening during the procedure to keep you in the loop and as comfortable as possible.

Progress With Baby Steps

There is no need to jump right into an elaborate procedure if you have dental anxiety.   It might help to start out with a cleaning or X-ray. Or take it easy with something fairly simple and non-invasive like sealant or fluoride treatments.  You can gradually progress to more nuanced treatments as your comfort level increases.

Write Down Your Fears

Plenty of patients have found it helps to write down their fears.  The act of writing down what makes you fearful really can help you take steps toward overcoming your phobia.  Once you are aware of your specific fears, you will be able to develop a plan to improve your comfort level and eventually come to the conclusion that there is nothing to fear.

Have Your Treatment or Procedure Performed in the Morning

Those who have dental anxiety find early morning treatments tend to go better than afternoon or early evening appointments.  The earlier the visit the better as you will have that much less time to be nervous about the upcoming treatment or procedure.

A Support System Will Help Alleviate Your Fear

Some patients find it difficult to simply walk in the door of the dentist's office.  If your dental anxiety is this debilitating, bring along a friend or family member for motivation.  The presence of a trusted friend or family member will make the visit go that much smoother.

Establish a Signal With the Dentist to Ensure Comfort

Talk with your dentist prior to the treatment or procedure to make sure you are on the same page.  Explain your dental phobia in-depth. Work out a signaling system so you can notify the dentist when you are uncomfortable or simply need a break.  The signal can be anything from raising an arm to snapping the fingers.

Use a Distraction to Overcome Your Dental Anxiety

A distraction might seem like an odd solution yet it really can decrease your dental anxiety.  Distractions like a stress ball or listening to music just might make a meaningful difference in your anxiety before and during the appointment.

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