Dentistry-related anxiety is a very common problem faced by people of all ages. The roots of this anxiety may vary from person to person, but there are a number of common symptoms, including a racing heartbeat, sweating, crying, and possibly even fainting.
Some people may find their anxiety so difficult to cope with that they avoid going to the dentist altogether – which can have repercussions for their dental health.
If you find yourself struggling with the unpleasant symptoms of dental dread, don’t despair – there are some tips and techniques that may prove helpful and make your next dental appointment feel much more manageable.
- Find A Dentist Who Understands Your Fears
Finding a dentist who empathises with you and knows exactly what kind of support to provide for nervous patients is a must. Practices such as Smile Style Dental Care Centre will do what they can to support you in overcoming your dental anxiety so you can enjoy a healthy, happy smile.
- Welcome Distractions
If you feel that distractions may help you get through your dental check-ups, ask your dentist if you can play your favourite music or use a device during the appointment. This will give your mind something to focus on rather than your anxious thoughts.
Meditation can be an effective tool for tackling anxiety and can be done either before or during your appointment. There are a number of techniques you can use to meditate, so it may be a case of experimenting with different methods until you find the one that works best for you. These techniques include:
- Clearing your mind and allowing your thoughts to drift past without judgement.
- Concentrating on your breathing.
- Focusing on your physical sensations and simply allowing yourself to experience them without judgement or fear.
- Focusing on an object in the room or on an image in your mind’s eye, giving it your full concentration.
Alternatively, you may wish to download some effective meditation apps to your phone and perhaps even play a guided meditation during your appointment to help you relax.
- Happy Gas
Sometimes also known as ‘laughing gas’, nitrous oxide could be an option you and your dentist agree upon to help you relax during your appointments. Given to you through a mask, this gas is effective in just minutes but also wears off quickly and will give you a sensation of calm which many people find soothing and even pleasant.
- Weighted Blankets
It may seem rather strange, but weighted blankets can prove effective in calming frazzled nerves and helping to combat the unpleasant symptoms of anxiety. This is because the sensation of the blanket encourages your body to transition from ‘fight or flight’ mode into a more restful state, which, in turn, helps to slow down a rapid heartrate and steady your anxious breathing.
- Anti-anxiety Medication
Finally, for more severe cases of dental anxiety, a short-acting anti-anxiety medication may be necessary following a consultation with your doctor and dentist. Medicines such as diazepam can effectively switch off your anxious responses and help you feel calm and slightly sedated while you undergo your treatment. However, if you are prescribed this type of medicine, you will need to be accompanied on your dental visit as you should not drive while taking them.