No-one really likes going to the dentist but if you have more serious anxiety preventing you from going, you must deal with it. Your dental health is often a signifier for your overall health and a small problem with your teeth can quickly escalate into something much more serious if you aren’t treated quickly.
Dental checkups are often quick and painless so while you might be worried about questions such as how long does a root canal take or will I have to have a filling, if you go regularly, you are more likely to avoid such procedures. Most dentistry is about preventative care so if you don’t go, you are really just creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that will lead to the serious treatments you’re afraid of!
Choose the Right Dentist
Some dentists actually specialize in treating patients who are anxious about seeing them. They often offer slightly longer appointment times so that you can take your time and go at your speed and they are quite happy to talk you through what they are doing too. Most dentists will be understanding, though, so tell your dentist how you are feeling.
If you don’t like one dentist, please don’t assume that all dentists are the same. Even a specialist dentist might not be the right fit for you. Trying different dentists until you find one you get along with is a good idea.
Accept Your Anxiety
When you’re feeling anxious about something, it’s easy to spiral your way into a panic. A good tip for staying calm most of the time, and enhancing your wellbeing along the way, is to accept your emotions without dwelling on them or trying to control how you feel.
A good trick for spiraling panic is to write all your fears down and then decide whether they are hypothetical or real. Discuss the real worries with your dentist so that they can reassure you and help come up with a coping strategy. There’s no point in worrying about a hypothetical because it isn’t happening now.
Use Calming Techniques
Taking a few long deep breaths can really help to settle nerves but there are all sorts of calming techniques you might like to use. Lots of people want their dentist to talk through what they are doing or even explain beforehand. Some people also like the dentist to ask before they do anything different and take the procedure one small step at a time.
Another option is to plug your headphones in and listen to some calming music or a podcast you need to concentrate on. This helps to distract you from what’s going on and you’ll be done before you know it.
No-one loves going to the dentist and for most of us, it’s just an appointment you have to get through each year. However, the benefits of going to the dentist far outweigh the risks of not going. So, if you’re feeling anxious, don’t be put off. You never know what your visit might prevent.