Many people are known to experience varying degrees of dental anxiety. Such anxiety can manifest into a deep hesitance to visit the dentist and even bouts of paranoia. This crippling behaviour can lead to an endless cycle of dental pain, oral health problems, and costly restorative procedures in the future.
But dental anxiety shouldn’t lead to hopelessness. There are countless ways of dealing with dental anxiety and fear.
Here are some tips that you can try:
Create a Personal Dental Anxiety Journal
Understanding your thoughts is an essential step in winning against dental anxiety. One of the reasons why people are afraid of dentists is deep, unresolved trauma. This probably came from the early days of childhood and persisted until adulthood. In order to lessen the negative effects of your dental anxiety, you can try making your own dental anxiety journal. You don’t need expensive materials for this – a small notebook will do.
If you think journaling is corny, think again! The most successful people in the world maintain journals. Journaling will organize your thoughts and help you understand your thinking process. If you understand your thoughts, you can pinpoint the origins of your dental anxiety.
As you fill page after page, you can chip away at the dental fear which held you back for years. You can even show this journal to a health care professional and gain new insights.
Talk to Your Dentist
It’s best to talk to your dentist because he/she knows the basic things about dental anxiety. Your dentist will advise you on how to deal with the fear, and how to promote consistent dental hygiene. Consulting your dentist is a wise move, and you should strive to keep all communication lines open. Honesty is even more important because your dentist will assess your medical history, along with your current dental habits.
Dental consultations are more essential if you have health problems such as diabetes or periodontitis. These factors will help your dentist in making recommendations related to dental procedures. It’s also very likely that your dentist will advise you to control your current health issues before proceeding with complicated dental surgery.
Recondition Your Mind About Pain & Dental Anxiety
Pain is one of the many factors why many people are afraid of dentists. You probably hate the sight of dental instruments, or you cringe upon imagining your tooth or gum operated on.
Here’s a truth: fear management begins with understanding what’s going in your mind. As you’ve read about, personal journaling can make a big difference. Over time, you will be able to recondition your mind. Perhaps you can try developing your mantra. Recite this mantra before visiting the dental clinic. Or you can recite it every single day – it’s up to you!
Note: mantras do not replace professional advice.
Practice Some Relaxation Techniques
If you have dental anxiety, you must practice numerous relaxation exercises. There are numerous exercises to choose from, such as continuous breathing, mantra formation, happy imagery formation, and personal meditation. By doing these exercises, your heart rate will slow down, and your fear or stress will subside.
Music can significantly help, as well as reading materials. You should also avoid being agitated before the procedure. Keep away from sensitive or “edgy” topics and just focus on positive or empowering things. Other useful materials are squeeze balls and plushie toys. They are known for their satisfying tactile sensation.
Be Serious About Dental Medications
Anti-anxiety drugs can greatly help you in dealing with dental fear. But you shouldn’t pop them like candy! Before you take anti-anxiety medicines, you need the advice and recommendations of your dentist. Diazepam is one of the most popular anti-anxiety drugs today. It’s also known as Valium. Dental professionals advise patients to take this drug one hour before the planned appointment – if they have dental anxiety.
What about the procedure? Your dentist will try to use conscious sedation to calm your nerves. Don’t worry – you still retain significant control of your body functions. You’ll just be numbed in terms of local pain. Another method is general sedation. This will put you into a deep sleep. General sedation is used for complicated dental surgeries and procedures. Keep in mind that your dentist won’t recommend anesthesia right away. Risk factors must be observed, which will be drawn from your medical history.
Dental anxiety is just a phase in your life – don’t let it control you! Instead of succumbing to fear, just imagine the benefits that you can get from a continuous and effective dental care regimen. And you also don’t need to fight the battle alone. Discuss your journey with your family, friends, and dentist.
Are you now ready to win over your dental anxiety? Sherwood Dental is prepared to help you. Contact us today if you have any questions or to book an appointment.