Dealing with Dental Anxiety
Do you get nervous just thinking about going to the dentist? You are not alone. Maybe you think it will hurt or you are worried what the dentist will find.
Whatever your reason, the team at Love Family Dentistry will make sure your dental and your emotional health are taken care of. The more you delay – or just don’t see us, the higher your risk of developing dental problems that will make gearing up for future dental visits more difficult. Regular visits can actually make the entire process – from making an appointment to sailing through it – much easier on many levels.
Use these strategies at your next appointment with Dr. Love to help ease your anxiety and strengthen your smile.
1. Speak up
Anyone with anxiety knows sharing your feelings makes a world of difference. If you’re tense or anxious, do yourself a favor and get your concerns off your chest. Dr. Love and his dental team are better able to treat you if they know your needs.
- Tell Dr. Love about your anxiety. When you book your appointment, tell the receptionist you’re nervous about dental visits. Remind Dr. Love and his dental staff about your anxiety when you arrive. Share any bad experiences you may have had in the past, and ask for suggestions on coping strategies.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Sometimes knowing what is going to happen alleviates any fears of the unknown.
- Agree on a signal. Let Dr. Love know by raising your hand if you need to take a break during an exam.
- If you experience pain even with a local anesthetic, tell Dr. Love. Some patients get embarrassed about their pain tolerance or don’t want to interrupt a dentist during a procedure. Talk with Dr. Love about pain before it starts so he knows how to communicate with you and make it more comfortable.
2. Distract yourself
Taking your mind off the exam may seem impossible when you’re nervous, but there are some things that that can help distract your thoughts.
- Wear headphones. If the sound of the drill bothers you, we have headphones so you can listen to your favorite music or audio book.
- Occupy your hands by squeezing a stress ball or playing with a small handheld object, like a fidget spinner.
- Imagine your happy place and visualize yourself at a relaxing beach or garden.
3. Use mindfulness techniques
Try deep breathing exercises to help relax tension in your muscles.
- Count your breaths. Inhale slowly and then exhale for the same number of counts. Do this five times while you’re waiting for your appointment, or during breaks while you’re sitting in the dental chair.
- Do a body scan. Concentrate on relaxing your muscles, one body part at a time. Start with your head and work your way down to your toes. For example, you can focus on releasing tension starting in your forehead, then your cheeks, your neck and down the rest of your body.
We want you to have the most comfortable experience at Love Family Dentistry. If you have any concerns or there is something we could provide to help you relax, please let us know!