According to the National Health and Medical Research Center, approximately 1 in 7 people suffer from dental anxiety, making it one of the most common anxiety disorders in the country. Debilitating dental fear can prevent people from getting the dental treatment they need, and can even discourage them from visiting the dentist for routine preventative procedures such as exams and cleaning.
While it can be challenging to face your fears, there are many steps you can take to overcome this issue. It’s best to tackle your anxieties as soon as possible so that you have time to get comfortable before you need any dental treatment.
Regular visits to the dentist are part of maintaining good oral hygiene, so conquering your dental fears should be a priority. From breathing techniques to sleep dentistry, this guide will arm you with tips and tricks for how to get over dental anxiety.
Find the Right Dentist
If you experience dental anxiety, it’s essential to feel comfortable with your dentist. Ask friends and family for recommendations and read online reviews, particularly those that mention the compassionate staff, a gentle approach to dentistry, and a relaxed clinical atmosphere.
Visit the Surgery
Get familiar with the surgery by visiting a few times before your appointment. Knowing what to expect can help calm your nerves. Communicate with staff about your dental anxiety, and ask to organise a practice appointment.
Be Thoughtful About When You Book Your Appointment
Arrange for your appointments to be at a time when you don’t have to rush. Hurrying will only increase your stress and dental anxiety. Many patients find they prefer early morning appointments, so they don’t have all day to dwell on their visit and get nervous.
Bring a Friend
Having support from a friendly face is sometimes all you need to relax about upcoming dental procedures. Make sure you consult your surgery about their policies beforehand.
Let your dentist know you suffer from dental anxiety. It’s very common, and they will have experience in putting patients at ease.
Together you can even agree on some hand signals to let your dentist know you are feeling overwhelmed or need a break.
Listen to Music
This handy tip has the double benefit of distracting you and covering the sounds of noisy dental equipment.
For many people, the sound of the drill is scarier than anaesthetic needles. Always check with your dentist that they don’t mind you listening to music with earphones.
Use Breathing Techniques
Deep breathing techniques and meditation have been used to overcome pain and anxiety for many years. Before your appointment, practise some techniques, including abdominal breathing and yogic pranayama breathing. There are many apps and video guides online you can use. You could even listen to a guided meditation during your appointment.
Take a Stress Ball
Squeezing a stress ball or playing with a fidget toy gives you something else to concentrate on and can relieve some of the physical symptoms of stress, such as tension and stiffness.
Ask for Numbing Gel
The pain of injections is the number one fear for many people dealing with dental anxiety. If you share this fear of needles, talk to your dentist about using a numbing gel.
Talk to your Dentist about Sleep Dentistry
For those patients with a severe phobia of the dentist and are struggling to figure out how to get over dental anxiety, consider IV sedation, also known as sleep dentistry. It is recommended for longer dental procedures which may cause extreme stress to nervous patients.
Learning how to overcome dental anxiety can be a process of trial and error; you have to find what works for you. At Glebe Dental Group, we understand the challenges some patients face attending an appointment and strive to make your visit to our practice as stress-free as possible.
We offer services such as sleep dentistry, which we conduct under strict guidelines with a qualified and highly experienced sedationist. To arrange an appointment or discuss your treatment options,
Contact us on (02) 9159 6816.