The recommendation from the American Dental Association is that people visit their dentist twice a year for deep cleanings and a general checkup focused on oral health. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who miss one or both of these appointments for several reasons, though dental anxiety may be the most common among them.
Over one-third of Americans experience some sort of dental anxiety, but Jamestowne South Dental Cracchiolo and his team at Perfecting Your Smile have a few suggestions to help deal with these fears, from dentist consultations to sedation dentistry in Bingham Farms. The truth is that dentists are nowhere near as scary as some people think, and we hope the following tips will help our more anxious patients cope with coming in for their biannual cleanings.
Five Tips for Dealing with Dental Anxiety
1. Talk with Your Dentist
A lot of what causes dental anxiety is a fear of the unknown, so simply having an honest conversation with Jamestowne South Dental about why you’re feeling anxious can help him gameplan a few ways to nip that issue in the bud. Furthermore, answering questions about specific areas of concern can help patients realize that our treatment isn’t as bad as they thought. Talking is always the first step toward feeling better!
2. Practice Meditation or Breathing Exercises
As with any form of anxiety, meditation and breathing exercises can help lower your heart rate, heighten your awareness, increase your focus, and relax your muscles. The more relaxed you can make your body, the easier it will be to deal with your anxiety.
3. Bring Support
Sometimes, just having a family member or friend nearby for moral support can work wonders. They know you better than anyone and can help guide you through your appointment so you’re not so anxious about it.
4. Stay Distracted
With wireless earbuds now so common and readily available, you can pop in a favorite playlist, podcast, or audiobook to help distract your mind during your cleaning or your procedure. Jamestowne South Dental and his team won’t be offended at all if you need to transport your brain somewhere else to keep your anxiety at bay during your appointment.
5. Consider Anxiety Medication
Sometimes, doctors can prescribe some short-term anxiety medication to help with something like a dentist appointment, though if your anxiety is a larger, overarching problem, you’ll want to speak to a general practitioner or therapist about using medication to deal with anxiety.
Navigating Dental Anxiety to Keep Your Teeth Healthy
We completely understand the stigma that comes with going to the dentist, but it’s also important for patients to remember that the overwhelming majority of work we do in our office is routine cleanings, which require zero scary dental instruments. Furthermore, the procedures that people most often fear exist to alleviate pain, not cause it, and we promise you’ll feel better after dealing with cavities and toothaches than if you leave them alone to get worse or even infected.
Don’t be ashamed of your dental anxiety, but please know that there are ways to cope to ensure that you can get into the dentist twice a year to keep your teeth as healthy as they can be!