Are you afraid of going to the dentist? Does the sound of a drill make you flinch? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. According to a survey of 18,000 people around the world, an incredible 61% of people said they suffer from some form of dental anxiety.
Fear of the dentist can lead people to avoid their routine checkups – and that can have some serious consequences for your oral health. If you want to overcome your anxiety, try out these five tips for keeping your cool during your next dental treatment:
Bring a Distraction
What is it that scares us about the dentist, anyway? The answer varies from one person to the next: some are afraid of the pain that comes with dental exams, others don’t like the smell of chemicals, and others can’t stand the sound of the drill.
Take some time to think about what bothers you most about visiting the dentist. Once you have an idea, look for a way to remove that stressor! For example, headphones and some music can be a great way to drown out drilling sounds. This little preemptive planning might make your visit a whole lot better.
Practice Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is a classic technique that many people use to calm their nerves in stressful situations.
The process itself is very simple: take a deep breath through your nose, counting slowly to four as you do so. Then, exhale slowly, once again counting to four. Focusing on the length of your breaths will help take your mind of the stress you were feeling.
With practice, deep breathing can become a very effective tool for managing all kinds of stress, from busy days at work to your twice-yearly dental visits.
Manage Your Diet
We may not always realize it, but the food we eat can have a real effect on our mood. Our diets can make us feel amped up, lethargic, or even jittery – and the results are different for nearly everyone.
While we can’t tell you precisely which foods or drinks will make you more anxious, we do have a few suggestions for your pre-dentist diet. Avoid caffeine and sugary snacks! These items tend to make people feel more awake, which can amplify your anxiety. Instead, look for foods that produce a calming effect like herbal tea (a low-caffeine variety) or leafy greens.
Manage Your Schedule
These days, most people lead very busy lives. We’re constantly rushing from one activity to another, with little time in between! Because of this, many of us squeeze in dentist appointments whenever there is a minute to spare. However, if you suffer from dental anxiety, this last-minute scheduling can lead to even more stress.
If you have any kind of dental fear, PLEASE do not schedule an appointment in the middle of a busy day! This kind of scheduling will only make you feel rushed and overwhelmed at your appointment – and it will make the rest of your day worse, too! Try to schedule visits on days when your to-do list is as empty as possible, so you can take extra time to relax and get ready.
Talk to Your Dentist
Finally, if you suffer from any kind of dental anxiety, it is important to let your dentist know. Your dentist wants you to feel at ease during your appointment, and he or she will be happy to help you overcome your fears.
Here at Caputo Dental, we provide our patients with many tools and the latest technology to ensure their comfort at every visit. Call our office to schedule an appointment with our office today!