- Published Date: 19 Nov 2020
- Updated Date: 17 Apr 2021
- Reading Time: 4 min
Medically Reviewed by
Dr. Tara Roffe D.D.S, PGCert
Dental anxiety is a real issue for many people, and not just something that children have. If the mere thought of going to the dentist fills you with fear, then you need to know how to combat dental anxiety.
Some people don’t want to disrupt their daily routine to go to the dentist because this increases their anxiety. Some are just so scared of the possibility of pain, that they talk themselves out of going to the dentist altogether.
Often, people have had negative experiences at the dentist in their childhood or as an adult, and this has jaded their views of the dentist and dental treatment into adulthood. As a result, people have delayed going to the dentist for years, and now recognize that they need a lot of dental work and are afraid that it will be too painful, too expensive, or both.
Knowing how to combat dental anxiety is very important, and could make a huge difference in one’s overall health. Neglecting dental appointments doesn’t just affect one’s appearance and the attractiveness of one’s smile, but can also adversely affect one’s well-being. Dental issues that are left untreated can cause or worsen pain, infections, gum disease, cancer, and diabetes. Let’s take a look at what you can do to combat dental anxiety:
Locate A Reliable Dentist in Your Area
Most people don’t want to feel rushed or that their concerns are not going to be addressed, and therefore it is important to find a reliable dentist in their area to coordinate dental health in a comfortable and congenial setting. A reliable dentist with plenty of great patient reviews should be expected to listen to your concerns, address your anxieties, and discuss what they can do for you. Many dentists now specialize in patients with anxiety and offer special treatments for them. It is definitely worth looking into finding such a dentist in your area.
It is always worthwhile to investigate unbiased reviews of dentists on sites like Trustpilot and Facebook for both their expertise and chairside manner (to avoid reading fabricated reviews).
In case of extreme fear or phobia, another suggestion would be to ask the dentist about sedation dentistry.
Call And Discuss Your Needs and Worries
Once you feel you may have found a compatible dentist, contact them to discuss your needs and worries. Do they spend time with you on the phone? Do you feel they are listening, and understanding your specific needs and concerns? From their response, you will get a good idea of what their chairside manner is like, and whether they are a dentist that you would feel comfortable being treated by. Some dentists may even offer to set up a virtual consultation with you online so you don’t have to go to their office in person, commonly referred to as a teledental visit. All of this pre-visit consultation should be at no financial obligation to you, and if you end up deciding not to visit the dentists you have spoken to, then there should be no commitment. You need to trust the dentist who will be treating you and ensure they care about you and your overall well-being.
Learn How To Control Your Breathing
Controlling your breathing in connection with dental visits sounds so simple, but trust us when we say it can make a huge difference to your overall state of well-being and likelihood of having a successful and stress-free visit. Taking deep belly breaths can signal the body to relax. Breathing patterns, like the 7/11 breathing technique, are particularly helpful. You could also try repeating a mantra, such as ‘I am safe’. Shallow breaths can signal the body that we are anxious, so do your best to keep your own breath under control.
Determine The Source of Your Dental Fear
Can you pinpoint where your fear of the dentist came from? Maybe you had a bad experience when you were younger. If this is the case, consider what happened then and rationalize why it is unlikely that the same experience will happen again. Understanding why you get nervous could help you to better control your fear response the next time you visit the dentist.
Agree On The Use Of Hand Signals To Take A Break
When you visit a dentist for treatment, it could be a good idea to agree on the use of hand signals to let them know when you need to take a break. Many dentists will coordinate hand signals with you so that they will know that you need them to stop treatment, and many will even leave the door open so you can walk out whenever you like.
Choose A Low Stress Appointment Time
Choose a low stress appointment time, both for you and your dental team. If they know you are a nervous patient, then they will likely allow more time for your appointment so you can relax and take breaks. They will also be more likely to explain the treatment process to you gently and be more understanding should you struggle to relax. There’s nothing worse than feeling rushed when you are trying to stay calm.
Cognitive behavioral therapy and other such types of therapy could potentially help lessen your fear and anxiety. Many people use the same techniques with things like flying and they work very well. You could even try hypnotherapy to overcome your fear of the dentist.
Finding a trustworthy practitioner with satisfied clients, that overcame their dental anxieties, may take a little work and determination but doing so can make all the difference in making you feel better and accept needed treatment.
Consider Having Dental Treatment At Home
Treatment at home is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to have some types of dental treatment. With clear aligners, for instance, you take dental impressions at home and then send it back to the ALIGNERCO team. For the duration of your aligner treatment, you can be in the comfort of your own home and shouldn’t need to visit a dentist office, which is quite useful for people who find that the smells, noises, and sensations of a dentist’s office provoke their anxieties. After submitting your impressions, you will receive customized, invisible aligners created to your specific tooth straightening needs, and these will allow you to correct your smile without conventional braces.
We, at ALIGNERCO, offer great customer service so you don’t need to worry about visiting a dentist. You will get full support from us from the beginning of treatment through the end.
Contact us today to find out how our clear aligners could help you!
Medically Reviewed by
Dr. Tara Roffe D.D.S, PGCert