Tips for Managing Dental Anxiety
Created on June 15, 2017
It’s time for you to see the dentist. You can get yourself to make an appointment, but then every day leading up to your visit, you are overcome by a sense of dread. This is dental anxiety at its finest. According to the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, fear and anxiousness keep up to 40 million Americans from obtaining the dental care they need to stay healthy and pain-free.
Why is this?
Why is it that some people can barely tolerate the routine dental exam and cleaning? It has nothing to do with being weak; in most cases, there is sufficient cause for fear. Usually, dental anxiety stems from a childhood dental experience. This doesn’t have to be something traumatic; dental visits are often precarious for children – unfamiliar people looking in and poking around in the mouth can be a little unnerving!
Your reasons for feeling nervous before or during a dental visit are unique to you and completely normal. We would like to help you in whatever way we can, so fear does not stand in the way of you seeing your dentist. Some common methods of reducing dental anxiety include:
- Talk with your dentist! Sometimes, just acknowledging your fears and communicating them with your dentist can ease them. Talking with your dentist paves the way for truly personalized dental care revolving around your comfort.
- Plug in the tunes. Music is great therapy in any number of settings. Patients who listen to their favorite music through earbuds are less likely to react to the sounds of the dental office.
- Avoid caffeine before a dental visit. The jolt of energy that comes from soda could excite the central nervous system, increasing anxiety. The sugar also doesn’t help!
- Focus on your breathing during dental exams and treatments. Anxiety often inhibits deep breathing, thus reducing oxygen levels, which increases anxiety. What a vicious cycle!
- Communicate your needs to your dentist during treatment. Hand signals are often used to communicate discomfort of any kind, including a sense of claustrophobia or a general feeling of anxiety. A simple hand gesture is all we need to slow down or back off to improve your emotional comfort.
Taylor Street Dental is committed to providing families of Springfield and surrounding areas with personal, friendly care. Contact us at (413) 781-7645 to schedule your visit and to discuss the benefits of sedation dentistry for dental anxiety.