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Dental Anxiety: How to Avoid Being Nervous About Seeing the Dentist

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How to beat your dental anxiety

Very few people are able to head to a dentist appointment without a little bit of nervousness. It’s a common problem. Unfortunately, some people are more anxious about general dentistry work than others, and it can be enough to actually prevent them from seeking the health care they need to keep their teeth healthy. Does this sound like you? If you are avoiding even simple check-ups because you are afraid, you should take a few steps to easing your dental anxiety.

how to beat dental anxiety

Have a Chat with the Dentist

One of the best steps to easing anxiety is to get more information on what’s going to happen at your appointment, so that a fear of the unknown doesn’t make things worse. Ask any questions you might have and get a solid description of what is going to take place. Knowing that there won’t be any needles, for example, can ease your mind quite a bit.

There is a second half to this tip too. Not only should you find out more about your upcoming procedure, you should take this time to explain to the dentist that you are not comfortable having dental work done. He or she can make adjustments to their techniques to accommodate your feelings, by taking things slower or using additional sedatives or numbing agents to keep you pain-free.

Go More Often

This is one suggestion that most people don’t consider because it seems a little contradictory. When you put off dental appointments for years (and years), you are just making things worse for you for 2 reasons. Firstly, your mind will start to generate more negative memories about the experience as time passes, which will make you a lot more anxious when you do finally get into the dentist chair.

Secondly, by going more often (say, the recommended annual appointment), you are a lot less likely to discover you have a problem that requires extensive or invasive procedures. Dealing with a small cavity is so much simpler than having to drill out the entire tooth because you eventually need a root canal after waiting too long. 

Hypnosis

This may seem a little drastic but a little hypnotic suggestion can go a long way in relieving your anxiety. A few sessions with a professional therapist can alter your subconscious thoughts enough that your dental fear starts to fade away. If a therapist is out of your budget, you can even try a few good DIY recordings before your appointment to help ease your stress.

Add Some Distraction

Listening to your favorite music is a common trick to help keep your mind off of what’s going on in your mouth. It can also drown out the disturbing noises some of the equipment makes that can bother some people. Depending on the office, your dentist may even be able to get a movie or TV show going on a monitor that you can focus on instead. Not enough, see if you can find a friend willing to come along and keep you company. Preferably someone chatty who can keep up a one-sided conversation while you’re in the chair.

So if you are getting nervous about your next appointment, try to take some of these ideas into account and make a few changes for better dental health.

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