If even the thought of visiting the dentist makes you break out in a cold sweat, you’re not the only one. Around 15% of adults avoid the dentist out of fear or anxiety. Waiting to see the dentist makes dental problems worse, requiring even more dental work than if you had just gone in sooner. Regular appointments can make the process easier.
Dr. Nelson Kanning and Dr. Matthew Tippin are dentists in Lawson, MO who strive to keep their patients comfortable and informed every step of the way. They’ve learned several tips over the years to help patients with dental anxiety.
1. Say something
Let your dental team know about your concerns or fears. Your dentist can better treat you if they know you are apprehensive and help you understand the process so you’re not as anxious.
- When you come in for your appointment, let the staff know that dental care makes you nervous so they can keep you comfortable from the moment you walk in.
- Don’t hesitate to ask questions. The unknown can be frightening, so asking your dentist to let you know what’s going to happen can help calm your fears.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for breaks during the procedure to regain your composure.
- If you feel any pain, even after an anesthetic is administered, say something. Many people don’t want to interrupt the dentist, but the anesthetic is there for a reason and they can often administer more to make sure you’re comfortable.
2. Distract yourself
While it might seem impossible to take your mind off of what’s happening, there are several things you can do to help distract yourself.
- Wear headphones. Try listening to an audiobook or your favorite music.
- Keep your hands busy with a stress ball or small handheld object.
- Visualize yourself in a place that makes you feel relaxed.
3. Use mindfulness techniques
Try using deep breathing or meditation to relieve tension in your muscles and reduce your anxiety level.
- Count your breaths. Inhale slowly and exhale. Do this several times while you’re waiting for the appointment or on breaks during the procedure.
- Remember to relieve tension at various points during the procedure. Over time you might find yourself tensing your jaw or upper body. Remind yourself to let go of that tension during the procedure.
Remember: Your dentist and their team are here to help you have a healthier smile. They don’t want you to be afraid or to hurt you. Make sure to communicate your fears so they can help you begin having positive experiences at the dentist’s office.
If you’re in the Lawson, MO area and are looking for dental care from a team of compassionate and skilled dental professionals, contact the Kanning Dental team at (816) 580-4191 or schedule an appointment online today.