If the idea of going to the dentist makes you cringe, you’re not alone. According to Harvard Medical School, dental anxiety plagues 13-24% of Americans. These people may try to avoid dental treatments, from their routine cleanings to emergency care – and this can have a disastrous impact on your oral health.
At Sunrise Dental, we want your visits with us to be as comfortable as possible. That’s why we work hard to create a calming and positive environment for all our patients. But if you find that your anxiety is too great for your next appointment, here are a few tips that just might help you cope until you’re cleaning is finished.
Bring a Friend
Sometimes, having a supportive person with you is enough to keep anxiety at bay. If you struggle with dental anxiety, consider asking your dentist if you can bring a friend with you to your appointment. Many dentists won’t mind having another person in the exam room, and they can help you manage your fear.
Whether you bring your bestie, your boyfriend, or your parent with you to your appointment, make sure they are prepared to do what’s necessary to keep you calm. Talk with your support person ahead of time about ways they can help you. If you both have a game plan, the appointment will be a much easier process.
There’s a reason that some dentists install TVs in their exam rooms or play music in their offices: a distraction makes it much easier to manage anxiety. If you’re focused on the latest TV show, tapping your toes to the latest pop hit, or engrossed in a book, you’re less likely to acknowledge the stressful environment around you!
Consider bringing your iPad, Kindle, or other device with you to your dentist appointment. This will give you something to focus on OTHER THAN the dentist, and it just might be enough to keep you from feeling any fear or anxiety.
Take Time Outs
If you’re visiting the dentist for a routine appointment, it’s safe to say that you’ll be in and out of the office pretty quickly. But if you’re going in for an involved procedure (like a crown or root canal), you might be in the chair for a while – and this can really trigger your anxiety!
Even if you need a complicated dental procedure, you don’t need to sit with your anxiety all afternoon. Be open with your dentist about what you’re feeling and ask to take breaks when you need a moment to yourself. This will make you feel much better and will make the whole experience more pleasant.
Talk to Your Dentist
Finally, the best way to cope with dental anxiety is simply to talk with your dentist. He or she doesn’t want you to be anxious! In fact, there are many tools today’s dentists can use to help make your experience better. Your dentist can use sedation dentistry to help you stay relaxed or give you other techniques to help you manage your fear. However, they won’t know you need these techniques unless you tell them – so don’t be afraid to speak up!
Dental anxiety keeps countless Americans out of the dentist’s chair every year, but it doesn’t have to. If you want to ensure you have a clean and healthy smile, you need to see the dentist at least twice a year – so use these techniques to conquer your fear and get that perfect smile!
If you want to schedule a dental appointment, the Sunrise Dental Care team is here for you. Call us today!