Tips for Overcoming Dental Anxiety

A substantial amount of people experience anxiety, in varying severities, when it comes time to see the dentist. Whether you experience mild anxiety about visiting the dentist or severe fear, there are things you can do to lessen the negative feelings you might have about going in for dental work.

Common Dental Anxiety Coping Practices

Distracting Oneself. This could be by counting, playing games, or simply thinking of something else.

Prayer. For those that this pertains to, hoping or praying that the treatment will end soon will help you focus on the completion of treatment instead of the experience of it.

Self-Efficacy. Telling yourself to be strong and that you are strong will make you focus on getting through the treatment, rather than on what is happening or that you’re afraid.

Optimism. Telling yourself that everything will be okay after the dental treatment will help with convincing yourself that you will make it through this and be fine in the end.

One of the best ways to avoid frightening or major procedures is to practice prevention, namely, hyper conscientiousness of oral and dental care. Practicing prevention in this way ensures that the dentist won’t have to do as much when you do go in. Another key element of overcoming dental anxieties is talking to your dentist about your fears, so that they can be aware of them and make every effort to make you comfortable and at ease.

Additional Ways of Overcoming Dental Anxiety

If you are afraid of the equipment, ask to hold the tools and instruments before they are used on you. This helps them feel less foreign.

If you think the dentist seems threatening, find a dentist who has a sense of humor. Humor will help reduce your stress, increase your wellbeing, and also create a more pleasant atmosphere in general.

If you don’t like the loud noises of the dental tools, try bringing in noise canceling headphones or earplugs to drown it out.

You can also try…

  • Sedation
  • Yoga techniques for breathing and relaxation
  • Listening to music during the visit
  • Therapy
  • Taking someone you trust with you (who is not afraid)

It is important to not let your fear and anxiety of visiting the dentist keep you from regular dental visits. Skipping these regular visits leaves the teeth vulnerable to tooth decay, cavities, and bad breath, which can consequently lead to compromised self confidence and long-term health issues.

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