The anxiety that comes with a dental appointment is often worse than anything that actually happens during the procedure. From a simple check-up to the infamous root canal, all kinds of dental procedures can make us all very nervous. But most of our fears are created in our own minds, and can be overcome with a few simple tips.
Know What’s Going On
Anxiety can be rooted in the fear of the unknown, or it can develop because your expectations aren’t based in reality. Just because you think something is going to be painful doesn’t mean it will be. Take the time to have a frank discussion with your dentist about what will be going on during your procedure.
And while you’re getting the details on your appointment, explain that you are still anxious about the procedure. The dentist can’t know how you’re feeling unless you tell them. Having an stronger dose of numbing agent, additional sedative or even just taking the process slower than usual can all help you get through the appointment with less anxiety.
Taking your mind off your mouth can be tough during a dental appointment, but being able to choose your favorite music can be a potent distraction. Just make arrangements before your appointment so that your dentist knows what’s happening. Wearing your own headphones may be out because they can get tangled in the equipment so be prepared to have a mobile device with speakers you can just set up on the counter. Make up a playlist of your favorites, and concentrate on your tunes instead of the dentist.
If music doesn’t hold your attention, you can convince a friend to come along and just have a chat with you. Granted, the conversation will be a little one-sided since there will be hands or equipment in your mouth for most of the time.
Don’t laugh, hypnosis is an excellent way to deal with all kinds of anxiety, including those nervous trips to the dentist. You can try self-hypnosis products, or even a session or two with a therapist. Once the suggestion is set in your sub-conscious, you can find yourself far less anxious about going to the dentist.
Practice Good Dental Care
If you are anxious about the dentist, the best thing you can do is to take such great care of your teeth that nothing causes you problems. This includes the usual tips on regular brushing with a good toothbrush at least twice a day, as well as flossing. Even with this great daily maintenance, you need to have at least one check-up each year. Finding a problem while it is still small means you won’t have serious dental surgery later on. More frequent (and less invasive) appointments will help create a more positive experience in your mind too.
It is only fair to mention the inevitable consequences of letting your anxiety get the best of you. If you choose to ignore dental health and simply avoid the dentist altogether, you run the risk of very serious health complications. A simple sore tooth can develop a more serious infection that can (and will) spread through your gums and deeper into the jaw bone.