Top tips for overcoming your dental anxiety

Whether it’s the shrill noise of the instruments or the vulnerability of letting a stranger examine your mouth, there are lots of reasons why people are afraid of going to the dentist. Sometimes it stems from a bad experience as a child or even from seeing negative or scary images in the media. Whatever the reason, you’ll be pleased to hear that there are several tactics you can try in order to overcome your dental anxiety. 

Here are some top tips.

Understand why visiting the dentist is important

The first step is to accept that going to the dentist is necessary for your health and wellbeing and therefore that overcoming your anxiety is necessary too. This will help persuade you to put in the effort needed to face your fear. Regular dental appointments ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy, plus enable dentists to check for signs of serious medical conditions such as oral cancer and treat them early on.

Utilize relaxation techniques

There are a wealth of different tactics you can try in order to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. As an example, meditation is a fantastic way to lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Other useful techniques include breathing exercises – check this link for instructions on how to do five effective styles – and progressive muscle relaxation. The latter involves tensing and then releasing all the muscles in your body from head to toe, leaving you feeling much more relaxed and ready to face your fears.

Tell your dentist how you feel

It’s always a good idea to let your dentist know that you’re nervous about your appointment. The people who work at respected practices such as are kind and used to patients feeling a little uneasy. They’ll be able to help you out, for example, by stopping for breaks during treatment if necessary or letting you listen to music during the appointment, so you have something else to focus on when you’re in the chair.

Work out the cause of your fear

As touched on at the start of this post, there are lots of reasons why people are anxious about going to the dentist. It can be helpful to pin down the specific cause of your fear because then you can use logic and rationality to counter it. For example, you might have an image of terrifying instruments being used on your teeth, which in reality are no longer in use – or perhaps never were! If you struggle with this or are suffering from a more severe phobia, a professional psychologist might be able to assist you.

Bring a friend for moral support

One way to tackle your nerves on the day of your appointment – and make sure that you don’t back out – is to bring a friend or family member with you. If you tell the dentist why they’re there, they will almost certainly allow them to sit in the room with you during your checkup to provide moral support. Then afterward, you can reward yourself for your bravery by going out and doing something more fun together, like watching a movie or indulging in some retail therapy!