How to Alleviate Dental Anxiety?
One of the cornerstones of quality oral hygiene is regular dental checkups. Your dentist can identify warning signs of cavities or gum disease and get a jump start on treatment, which can be pretty minimal if caught early. Despite these benefits, dental anxiety is a serious problem that keeps patients from visiting the dentist.
Dental anxiety is when someone experiences fear or anxiety at the thought of being in a dental setting, such as a clinic. According to WebMD, between 9 and 20% of Americans avoid going to the dentist due to fear or anxiety. This can lead to a large percentage of the population missing out on proper dental care. So if you’re getting butterflies in your stomach thinking about that upcoming visit to the dentist, be assured that you’re not alone. Let us look at how you can deal with dental anxiety and get your oral health back on track.
The first step in dental anxiety management is to communicate with your dentist about your anxiety. Your dentist can then work with you to determine the best ways to make you more comfortable. They can explain the process from start to finish, letting you understand the risks and benefits it entails. They can also suggest alternatives for procedures you’re not comfortable with, like replacing injectable anesthesia with gels or creams. A good dentist will always work with you to make your experience as relaxed and comfortable as possible.
Meditation and Exercises
There are countless tried-and-tested techniques that people dealing with anxiety use to calm themselves and reduce their fears. This includes certain breathing exercises like the box breathing technique, where you exhale to the count of four, hold your lungs empty for four seconds, inhale at the same pace, and hold air in your lungs for a count of four before exhaling and beginning the pattern anew. Such exercises can help if you are feeling anxious during your appointment. Meditating before your dentist visit can also calm your nerves, helping you relieve tension and relax your muscles.
There are various over-the-counter and prescription medicines available that can reduce the symptoms of anxiety. Anxiolytic drugs are a class of medicines used to reduce anxiety, and they include pills like Xanax, Valium, etc. If prescribed, they should be taken at least one hour before the appointment. There are also anesthetics that the dentist can provide during certain procedures to ease the pain and calm the nerves. Sedatives like valium and nitrous oxide can be used to keep you relaxed and pain-free while still being semi-conscious. General anesthesia can also be used for certain longer procedures or if the patient has extreme dental anxiety that might interfere with the treatment.
Bring a Friend
A simple solution to dental anxiety can be to bring a supportive friend or relative along for the appointment. Having a familiar face around can be helpful in reducing stress when you’re in an unfamiliar environment. Even if they can’t be with you during the procedure, having a supportive friend nearby can help you feel safer and more relaxed.
While at-home care can go a long way toward building good oral health, delaying dental checkups can lead to oral health issues. There are also procedures like root canals that cannot be done unless you go to the dentist. Here at Every Smile, we have a team of dental professionals who value your comfort and are ready to communicate with you about your needs and doubts surrounding treatment. Call now at 480-732-7874 or schedule an appointment online through our website.