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It is estimated that 9% to 15% of Americans skip or avoid regular visits to the dentist out of fear. In fact, according to Healthline, it’s estimated that 2.7% of men and 4.6% of women have dentophobia – the fear of the dentist. If you’ve found yourself putting off trips to the dentist due to dental anxiety, you may feel as though you have no other choice. Still, regular checkups with your dental provider are necessary to maintain good oral health. So, what can be done?
If you’re feeling nervous or downright terrified to go to the dentist, you’re not alone. This is a common fear for many people, but that doesn’t mean you have to neglect your oral health because of dental anxiety. Today, Advanced Indiana will be sharing four ways to calm your dental anxiety. Using these methods, you can overcome your fear of the dentist while maintaining the best oral health possible.
1. Talk to Your Dentist About Your Dental Anxiety
Honesty is always the best policy. If you’re struggling with dental anxiety, telling your dentist that you’re feeling nervous is the best course of action. Being upfront with your dental provider creates the opportunity for your dentist to build trust with you. A quality dentist will walk you through the process of what’s next for your exam, procedure, or routine cleaning.
Knowing that your dentist understands how you’re feeling can go a very long way in calming dental anxiety. Don’t be afraid to ask your dentist to help you plan ways to communicate if you begin to feel anxious during the procedure. They’ll be happy to help you – it’s their job after all!
2. Practice Calming Exercises
There are a variety of calming and grounding exercises that you can use to calm your nerves when suffering from dental anxiety. A deep breathing exercise, for example, is one such technique that can work wonders. Another helpful technique involves checking in with your five senses. Using this exercise, you may focus your mind on counting five things you can see, four things you can feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.
You’d be amazed just how far practicing this technique can go to calm your nerves as it focuses your mind on something other than your dental anxiety when it’s at its peak. We highly recommend finding one or two different calming techniques that work for you and practice them during your next dental appointment.
3. Plan the Day of Your Dental Visit
It will be very helpful to plan the day of your dental visit for a time that is somewhat low-key in terms of things going on in your life. You should, at the very least, allow yourself some time either before or after your dental visit to practice some deep breathing so that you can relax yourself. Dental anxiety will only be heightened when you’re in a rush, so be sure to plan the day of your dental visit accordingly. Don’t leave yourself feeling rushed as this will only peak your anxiety. Take things easy, allow plenty of time, and try your best to relax before and after the procedure.
4. See Your Dentist as Regularly as Possible
Believe it or not, the more often that you visit your dentist, the better your dental anxiety will be over time. If your dental anxiety is rooted in the idea that something will be wrong with your teeth, visiting the dentist more regularly will only help to quell these fears. As a matter of maintaining the best oral health possible, it is typically recommended that you see your dentist every six months. If you follow these recommendations, you allow your dentist time to find any dental issues before they become serious problems.
At the same time, if you’re trying to work through your dental anxiety, visiting the dentist more regularly will help to normalize the entire process for you, as well as building trust between you and the dental staff. While this may be the last thing you want to do, many people have found that the best way to alleviate their dental anxiety is to force themselves to visit regularly. With more and more visits going off without a hitch, many people have quickly found that the dentist wasn’t as big of a deal as they had initially thought.
Work With a Dentist Who Will Prioritize You!
At Advanced Indiana, we understand that dental anxiety is a real and serious issue for many people. Rather than dismissing you and making you feel as though your feelings aren’t valid, our staff will work closely with you to alleviate your fears. Our dental staff is compassionate and strives to prioritize you and your oral health every step of the way.
If you struggle with dental anxiety, let us know! We will do our best to make every step of the process feel as easy as possible. Your oral health should be a priority to you – let yourself be a priority to us! Contact us today with any questions or concerns or feel free to set up an appointment online. We’ll be happy to help!