If you find yourself procrastinating or getting nervous whenever you think about going to the dentist, it may help to know that this is not unusual. While it may not seem like a big deal, long-term avoidance of the dentist can have serious consequences for your oral health and your overall health.
While it may seem counterintuitive, seeing your dentist regularly will actually make the entire process less stressful going forward and help you to overcome your fear. We suggest you give it a try – book your appointment and utilize these strategies when you arrive to help diminish your anxiety and beautify your smile!
Communicate How You Feel
Anyone who suffers with any form of anxiety knows that communicating how you feel can provide some instant relief. The best way to handle your anxiety, when it comes to the dentist, is to let the dental team know how you are feeling so they can help meet your needs as they provide your dental care. This should begin when you call to book your appointment, prior to visiting the dental office.
Let the receptionist know you are nervous about the upcoming appointment, and reiterate your concerns when you arrive. Share any specific fears or details of past bad experiences that cause you to feel extra nervous, and listen to any suggestions your dentist may offer. Make sure to ask questions – understanding what the dentist or hygienist will be doing will help you feel more in control of the situation. Additionally, agree on a signal, like raising your hand, if you need a break during the exam.
Never be embarrassed to let the dentist know you are experiencing pain, even after the administration of local anesthetic. A good dentist will want you to be comfortable, and he or she will have no way of knowing if you need more anesthetic unless you speak up.
Distract Yourself with Your Favorite Music or Audiobook
It may seem like nothing will distract you during your dental exam if you are feeling nervous or afraid. However, if you wear headphones and immerse yourself in the plot of your favorite novel or listen to relaxing music, you might forget your sitting in the dental chair and find the examination is over before you know it!
If you tend to fidget when you’re anxious, bring along a stress ball to squeeze while you close your eyes and imagine you’re at the beach or another relaxing spot.
Mindfulness Techniques May Help
Mindfulness techniques can help you relax during your visit. The first one is concentrating on your breathing by counting each breath as you slowly inhale and exhale for the same number of counts each. Do this five times while you are in the waiting room, and whenever you have a break while sitting in the dentist’s chair to help alleviate stress.
Another helpful concentration technique to utilize during dental visits is to start at the top of your head, and consciously concentrate on relaxing each set of muscles as you work your way down to your feet.
Brian Homann, DDS. Understands Dental Anxiety
If you live in or near Elk Grove Village, and you find yourself searching for “a compassionate dentist near me,” we recommend you give our dental practice a call. Dr. Homann knows the importance of finding a dentist you feel comfortable with, and will be happy to answer any and all questions you may have about dental examinations and dental procedures. Book your appointment today, and let us help alleviate your dental fears and enjoy a lifetime of beautiful smiles.