9 best ways to manage dental anxiety

Fear of dentists and dental procedures is a common finding worldwide. Dental fear can range from being fairly anxious to extreme fear known as dental phobia. This anxiety can make you skip dental appointments leading to fewer fillings and neglected oral hygiene. And a bad oral hygiene can lead to socialising problems.

If you are one of those who are fearful of dental procedures and dentists, here are a few ways to overcome your anxiety

Get your recommendations right.

Choosing a good dentist is probably the first step to overcome dental anxiety. Ask your friends or relatives for references of dentists that they have had pleasant experience with. Choose a dentist who is empathetic and understands your anxiety. A good dentist is one who would patiently sit with you to understand your issues and explain the dental procedures beforehand.

Share your fears.

You may have many inhibitions to ask questions to your dentist. It is imperative that you share your doubts with your dentist. Understanding the technical terms may be overwhelming at times, but your friendly dentist should to able to sort out your doubts and help you calm down. One of the key factors for a successful outcome of treatment procedure is a good communication between you and your dentist.

Schedule a convenient time for your dental appointments.

Please talk to the staff at the dental clinic or your dentist and get your dental appointments at that time in the day that suit you best. Ensure you have  had plenty rest prior to your scheduled appointment.

Watch your diet.

Avoid coffee and other caffeinated drink prior to your appointment. Have a high protein food rather than a sugary meal before the appointment. The protein meal has a calming effect.

Have a support system.

Getting a trusted friend or a family member along for the appointment makes you fell more at ease and also helps reduce anxiety.

Try relaxation techniques.

Relaxation techniques like mediation or thinking positively about the outcome of the treatment is helpful. When you are nervous you tend to hold your breath which in turn reduces the oxygen supply to the brain, further increasing your anxiety. Meditation focuses on a slow and controlled breathing that reduces your anxiety levels.

Listening to your favourite music.

Listening to some comforting music in the waiting area, or reading your favourite book can calm you down. Carrying some comforting object to the dental appointment is another mechanism to assist fear. A squeeze ball that can be squeezed at times of heightened fear can be of great help.

Using hand signals during the procedures.

Communicate with your dentist beforehand on some hand gestures to signal any uncomfortable moments during the treatment procedure. The gives you a sense of being empowered and will help you calm down.

Have your medications.

Sometimes your dentist may prescribe anti anxiety drugs that need to be taken before the dental appointment. Please ensure to take all your medications on time for your appointment.

It’s common for you to feel some anxiety before your dental appointment. As health care professionals, dentists are trained to treat patients who have anxiety. Many safe, advanced and comfortable treatment techniques can make dental care less stressful.