Did you know that dental anxiety is one of the most common phobias in the world? It is true, and what’s more, nearly a third of adults dislike visiting the dentist so much that it can cause anxiety levels to rise days before in anticipation their appointment. One in ten adults have a phobia so strong that they will actively avoid going to the dentist, even when they have a problem that needs addressing.
Dental phobia is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It is something that needs to be tackled with great care otherwise more people will suffer risks to their oral health. Oral hygiene is really important for our general health, so neglecting our teeth could lead to serious problems.
Lets take a look at some coping strategies and useful techniques that you could try out to help overcome your fear of the dentist.
Tackling Mild Dental Anxiety
Dental anxiety isn’t black and white. There are varying degrees of nervousness about it from mild stomach flutters to full blown panic attacks. But if your anxiety is only mild, you can help yourself in a number of different ways.
Speak with your dentist
Don’t be afraid to approach your dentist before your visit and speak with them about your concerns. If you dentist is unaware that you are anxious about your visits, they will not be able to help you. Make sure that they are aware and understand your exact worries and fears so that they can make your visit as smooth and relaxed as possible. If you are going for some dental treatment, then they can give you some extra time for your appointment to allow for regular breaks as and when you need them.
Mindfulness and breathing techniques
It can help greatly to practice some calming breathing techniques. Controlled breathing can help to relax your body and move your mind to focus on other things. You can use mindfulness techniques combined with controlled breathing to slowly move your focus around your body, relaxing muscle groups to reduce tension build-up and to ease a lot of discomfort from tight muscles.
You may be able to have something to distract you during your treatment, such as a TV playing a daytime soap or your favourite radio station playing in the background for you to tune into. If your dental surgery doesn’t have these options, then you could bring in your own music player and a set of headphones to wear, or you could ask your dentist or the dental assistant to chat to you about something interesting. There are many ways to distract your mind and take the focus away from your treatment.
Many people suffer from mild dental anxiety and it can help to know that you are not alone. Most dentists are very aware of this and will be open to your suggestions to help ease your concerns. The best advice is to talk to your dentist to make them aware of your anxiety so that they can help to put you at ease.