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5 Tips for Visiting the Dentist Without Anxiety

Apr 23, 2019 -- webmaster

5 Tips for Visiting the Dentist Without AnxietyIf you're apprehensive about visiting the dentist, you should know that you're not alone. Fear of dental appointments is very common, even among adults. Unfortunately, dental anxieties and phobias can lead to poor health if they keep you from seeking regular dental treatment. Most people should visit the dentist for a routine checkup at least twice a year for optimal dental health.

Don’t let fear of the dentist get in the way of your oral health. Here are five tips to help you make it through your next dental appointment without anxiety.

1. Ask Your Dentist to Explain the Procedure

Some people feel more comfortable when they know what will happen every step of the way. If the uncertainty of a dental procedure upsets you, let your dentist know about your anxiety ahead of time. Your dentist will be happy to accommodate you by explaining what they're doing and why. They can show you each tool as it’s used so there are no unpleasant surprises.

2. Stay Comfortable

Your physical comfort affects your overall state of mind. Try to stay calm at the dentist by taking advantage of small comforts.

For example, if you often get cold at the dentist's office, bring an extra thick pair of socks and a sweater. Some dentist office offer exam chairs with heating settings that can help you fight the chill and stay cozy throughout your procedure. Try to wear comfortable clothing that isn't too loose or constricting. When it comes to facing a fear, you should make feeling good a priority over your appearance.

3. Enjoy a Massage

Massage reduces your overall stress level, which means it can be great for people who are experiencing anxiety. Many people carry tension in their back, and this physical sensation of stress can reinforce your anxious mental state. 

At Pittsburgh Dental Spa, we offer exam chairs that also double as massage chairs. One of our massage chairs can work the tension and knots out of your back and shoulders, allowing you to relax while your dentist works on your mouth.

4. Take Advantage of Sedation Dentistry

In some cases, your anxiety may be too great to be handled through self-soothing techniques. If that's true, you can benefit from sedation dentistry. Your dentist can prescribe oral anxiolytic medication to alleviate your anxiety symptoms. Anti-anxiety medication can make you sleepy, so it's a good idea to have a trusted person drive you to and from your appointment if you choose this option.

Nitrous oxide is another popular choice. Your dentist will put a mask over your nose, which will pump a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. While under the influence of this drug, you will feel relaxed and happy, but you'll still be able to respond to your dentist's instructions.

With nitrous oxide, you won’t experience lingering grogginess or lethargy once your dentist turns off the gas. You'll even be able to drive yourself home.

5. Use Distractions to Your Advantage

When you're having dental work done, you may be tempted to focus on everything your dentist is doing. However, this can actually increase the amount of pain and anxiety that you experience.

Studies show that distractions can actually lessen your pain. While your dentist is filling a cavity or scaling your teeth, take advantage of one of the ceiling-mounted televisions to watch your favorite show. You can also listen to your favorite music with headphones.

You can visit the dentist without anxiety. These simple tips will help you to conquer your dental anxiety. Don't let your dental phobia keep you from seeking the dental treatment that you deserve. Proper dental care can keep your smile healthy and beautiful for years to come.