If you are anxious about going to the dentist, you are not alone. An estimated 4.6 percent of women and 2.7 of men have dentophobia. This figure only refers to a phobia or extreme fear. Many other people have lower levels of anxiety about the dentist.
Everyone has a slightly different reason for their dental-related anxiety. Some have had bad past experiences. Others are afraid of the tools used or the noise. Many as well are anxious about their oral health.
Whatever the reason you suffer from dental anxiety, there are some things you can do to help reduce it. Remember that everyone is different, so you may have to try several of these strategies.
Just Go – For Mild Anxiety
If your anxiety about going to the dentist is mild and not a severe phobia, then one of the best solutions is to make an appointment and go. Avoiding going to the dentist because you are anxious will make your problems worse. It will prevent you from getting regular cleanings and stop Dr. Sharma from spotting early issues.
If you have a phobia of the dentist, then you may want to try a combination of medication and exposure therapy. This would involve a series of visits to the dentist’s where you do more each time. You would start with just visiting the office and not sitting in the dental chair, then work your way up.
Use Music or Audio
For many people, blocking out the noises related to the dentist is enough to calm their anxiety. You can take advantage of this by bringing noise-canceling headphones and listening to calming music. Some people may find it better if the audio is highly distracting, such as a podcast or audiobook.
Not everyone needs audio to help them relax. You can try practicing meditation before you go to the dentist. Then use the skills at the appointment to stay calm.
Choose the Appointment Time Carefully
If you can, make your dental appointment for a less-busy time of the day. There will be fewer other patients, which means fewer tools making noise.
When booking the appointment, you may also want to opt for one earlier in the day. Some patients get even more anxiety if they have to wait all day for it to arrive. Others make sure they are just on-time for the appointment, not too early, as the waiting room can increase their anxiety.
Ask Someone to Come With You
You can also ask someone to come with you to the appointment. While most dentists prefer not to have extra people in the exam area, they will make exceptions when it is in the best interests of their patients. Just having a loved one nearby can be enough to calm you.
Talk to the Dentist
One of the most important things to do to relieve your anxiety is to talk to the dentist. As this is common anxiety, they will be used to dealing with it. They can also likely make minor adjustments to help your anxiety. For example, you could ask them to talk or not talk during the examination. Or could explain what will happen in more detail, if that helps you. We are here to help keep you maintain your dental health, schedule your dentist appointment for a dental cleaning in Chicago today!