Many people experience varying degrees of dental anxiety. Such anxiety can manifest into severe hesitance to visit the dentist and even paranoia. This behaviour can lead to an endless cycle of dental pain, health problems, deeper fear, and costly restorative procedures over the years.
If you have dental anxiety, you can still deal with it. Here are some ways to begin with:
Write Your Dental Anxiety Thoughts
Understanding your thoughts is the best first step in winning against dental anxiety. One of the reasons why people are afraid of dentists is deep trauma. This probably stems from the early days of childhood until it became unresolved. Before you panic or take medications, you should try writing down your dental anxiety thoughts. Create a personal journal of your thoughts. Journaling is a free way to lessen the weight in your mind and heart.
As you fill one page after another, you will understand the implications of your dental fear. From there, you will gain the courage needed to approach the dentist. As you feel the need to contact a health care professional or a phobia specialist, the journal will serve as a progressive guide.
Communicate With Your Dentist
Your dentist knows the basic things about dental fear. He or she will advise you on how to deal with the fear, and how to promote continuous oral hygiene. Visiting your dentist is a wise move, and you should also keep all communication lines open. Honesty is important because your dentist will assess your medical history, along with your current dental habits.
Dental consultations are also beneficial if you have health problems such as diabetes or even periodontitis. These factors will help your dentist in formulating suggestions related to dental procedures. Very likely, your dentist will advise you to control your current health problems before proceeding with complicated dental surgery.
Manage Your Fear of Pain
Pain is one of the many factors why people are driven by fear – especially in dentistry. You’re probably afraid of getting operated on, or the sight of dental instruments bring a chill in your spine.
Fear management begins with your mindset. It’s difficult, but you need to know that nothing worse can happen during a dental procedure. Your dentist knows what he or she is doing. Aside from journaling, you can develop your own mantra. Recite this mantra before your scheduled dental appointment. You will get the chance to have local or general anesthesia throughout the procedure.
Now, after the procedure, your dentist will provide over-the-counter medicines. These will be used to control pain and discomfort. Follow your dentist’s directions so that you can recover fast.
It is highly encouraged that you practice numerous relaxation exercises. There are many exercises to choose from, such as focused breathing, mantra formation, happy imagery, and mindful meditation. By doing these exercises, your heart rate will slow down and evoke personal calmness.
Music can also help, as well as reading materials. Avoid being agitated before the interview. Keep away from sensitive topics, and just focus on positive things. Squeeze balls and plushie toys can also provide tactile sensations, and they can keep you occupied.
Dental Anxiety Medications
There are numerous ways that your dentist can help reduce your anxiety through numerous anti-anxiety drugs. One of the most popular drugs is diazepam (also known as Valium). You can take this drug one hour before your planned dental appointment. During the procedure, your dentist will recommend conscious sedation – a method where nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is used to calm your nerves. Don’t worry – you will still be able to control your body functions. You just won’t feel the pain of the procedure. If you’re still anxious, general anesthesia is the final solution. This puts you into a deep slumber wherein the dentist can operate freely. General anesthesia is usually recommended for complicated procedures involving the jaw.
Take note that you won’t get anesthesia if you’re under several risk factors. The dentist will assess your medical history beforehand to avoid complications.
There’s no one concrete way to manage dental anxiety. It depends on your lifestyle, habits, priorities, and past experiences. Therefore, it’s right to combine the top ways mentioned above. You should also talk with your dentist as often as you can. The professional recommendations will help you overcome your dental fear.
Are you now determined to take action against your dental anxiety? Lancaster Dental is ready to help you. Contact us today with any questions or to book an appointment.