Many people dread going to the dentist. Maybe they feel a sense of panic at the thought of sitting in the dental chair, or maybe they’re nervous about what will happen during their appointment. Either way, they’re not alone and neither are you. Dental anxiety can be a major barrier to receiving oral healthcare, but the good news is that there are ways to manage that anxiety and make your next visit to the dentist a more positive experience.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
The first step in managing dental anxiety is to acknowledge and accept your feelings. It's okay to feel anxious or fearful about going to the dentist. You're not weak or silly for feeling this way.
Once you've acknowledged your feelings, try to identify the root of your anxiety. Is it fear of pain or discomfort? A feeling of vulnerability or loss of control? Negative past experiences? Understanding what's driving your anxiety can help you take steps to address it.
Talk to Your Dentist
Communicating with your dentist is crucial for managing dental anxiety. Don't be afraid to share your fears and concerns with them. Dentists are trained to work with anxious patients and can create a plan to help you feel more comfortable. For example, they may offer a hand signal or word to signal that you need a break, or explain every step of the procedure in advance so you know what to expect.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques can be helpful in reducing anxiety. Deep breathing, visualization, and progressive muscle relaxation are all techniques that can help calm your nerves. Practicing these techniques regularly can help you feel more in control and less anxious about going to the dentist.
In some cases, sedation may be necessary to manage dental anxiety. Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, can help you feel more relaxed during your appointment. Oral sedation, which involves taking a medication before your appointment, can also be effective in reducing anxiety. Talk to your dentist about your options and whether sedation may be appropriate for you.
Don't Let Fear Keep You from Dental Care
Dental anxiety can be a significant barrier to receiving the oral healthcare you need. But with the right strategies and support, you can manage your anxiety and make going to the dentist a more positive experience. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact our office via our website or by calling 403-407-5730.
*all procedures performed at our practice by a general dentist