How to Manage Dental Anxiety

How to Manage Dental AnxietyIf just thinking about going to the dentist makes your pulse quicken, you’re not alone. Maybe you’re concerned about pain or maybe you haven’t been in a while and you’re unsure how much work you will need.

Procrastinating about making an appointment to see the dentist will only make dental issues worse and in the end you will spend more time, money and probably feel more discomfort. Attending regularly scheduled visits with your dentist can actually help make the entire process much easier on many levels.

Dr. J. Eric Hires and his team at Hires Dental Care in Toledo OH want to give you some tips to help you conquer your fear of the dentist’s chair. Keep these helpful hints in mind at your next appointment to help ease your anxiety and keep your smile healthy and strong.

1. Speak up

Fears tend to seem less intimidating when you speak them aloud and knowing that others are aware of your feelings and understand can be very comforting. If you’re feeling anxious, help us put you at ease by letting your dental team know your concerns. Your dentist and their team will be better able to treat you if they know your concerns.

  • Talk to your dentist’s office about your anxiety. When you schedule your appointment, inform the receptionist that dental care makes you nervous and be sure to remind the dental staff about your anxiety when you arrive. It can be helpful to share any negative dental treatment experiences you may have had in the past, and ask for suggestions on how to cope.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask questions. The unknown can be frightening so requesting that your dental team let you know what is going to happen next during your treatment can help alleviate that fear.
  • Agree on a signal that will tell your dentist you need to take a break during an exam, such as raising your hand.
  • If you feel any pain even with a local anesthetic, tell your dentist immediately. Some patients may feel embarrassed about their pain tolerance or don’t want to interrupt a dentist during a procedure. However, your dentist will want you to be comfortable during treatment..

2. Distract yourself

Taking your mind off your dental treatment might seem next to impossible when you’re anxious, but there are some things you can do that that can help you distract yourself.

  • Wear headphones. If the sound of the drill makes you nervous, bring headphones so you can listen to your favorite music or audiobook.
  • Keep your hands busy by squeezing a stress ball or playing with a small handheld object, like a fidget spinner.
  • Use your imagination and imagine yourself relaxing at the beach or another relaxing place.

3. Use mindfulness techniques

Relaxation is a state of mind. Try deep breathing exercises to alleviate tension in your muscles and relieve anxiety.

  • Count your breaths. Inhale slowly and then exhale for the same count. Do this at least five times while you’re waiting for your appointment, or during breaks from treatment while you’re still sitting in the dentist’s chair.
  • Do a body scan. Focus on relaxing your muscles, one body part at a time. Begin with your head and work your way down to your toes. For example, concentrate on releasing tension starting in your forehead, then your cheeks, your neck and down the rest of your body.

Remember: Your dentist and their team are here to help you have a healthier mouth.  They don’t want you to be afraid or to harm you. Make certain to communicate your fears so they can help you have positive experiences at the dentist’s office from now on.

If you’re in the Toledo OH area and are looking for dental care from a team of compassionate and skilled dental professionals, contact Hires Dental Care at 419.365.2217 or schedule an appointment online today.

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