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How to Deal with Dental Anxiety and Fears

No one really loves going to the dentist, but for millions of Americans, dental anxiety is a very real problem. In fact, many people avoid getting the dental care they need because of anxiety and fear. Some patients deal with dental anxiety because they fear going through pain. Others may have had bad experiences in the past from dental treatment. For some patients, it’s the loss of control that makes them anxious about heading to the dentist.

Unfortunately, if you keep delaying those dental visits, you’re going to have some big, costly dental problems to deal with. Without proper care, you can end up with cavities, gum disease, and other oral health problems. Many new studies even link the presence of gum disease with a high risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart attack. Avoiding dental care is bad for your dental health and your overall health, so here’s a look at some helpful tips you can use to help calm your dental anxiety.

Tip #1 – Start By Talking to Your Dentist About Dental Anxiety and Your Fears

One of the best things you can do is to talk to your Melbourne, Florida dentist about the dental anxiety you’re experiencing. Together you can come up with a good strategy to deal with that anxiety. You may feel better if Dr. Brazdo continually tells you what is going on throughout the process. Other patients like to have their dentist talking to them in a calming voice about something other than the dental work taking place. You can also come up with a hand signal you can use if you need a break for a few minutes. This way you feel more in control of the situation during dental treatment.

Tip #2 – Use Deep, Slow Breathing

When you’re dealing with anxiety, it’s easy to hold your breath. This actually decreases your oxygen levels and can make you feel even more panicked. Instead of thinking about the procedure, focus on taking some deep, slow breaths. This increases your oxygen levels and it can help to reduce your stress levels as well. It also keeps you from focusing on what is going on during treatment.

Tip #3 – Go with a Low-Stress Time for Your Appointment

Make sure you set your dental appointments for a time that is low-stress and when you’re not under pressure or feeling rushed. If you feel pressured or rushed while you’re at the dentist, you’ll only increase your stress and anxiety. Early morning appointments, evening appointments, or even Saturday appointments may work best for you so you don’t have to take time off work. Your Melbourne, Florida dentist may be able to offer these types of appointments to accommodate you with treatment.

Tip #4 – Find Some Music

Music offers a great way to relax when you’re in the dentist’s office, and it’s especially beneficial if you hate hearing the sounds that come with dental work, such as the sound of the drill. Bring along a pair of headphones and your iPod or use your phone if it has music on it. You can block out all the sounds of the office and just concentrate on enjoying your favorite tunes to help cope with dental anxiety. In some cases, dentists offer music in the office for you to listen to. Another great option is watching DVDs while you’re having work done, since it’s a great distraction.

Tip #5 – Visualization

Another great way to reduce your anxiety when you’re at the dentist is to us visualization. You can picture yourself somewhere else and imagine that you’re in one of your favorite places to help you escape from the dentist’s office. Think about the smells, what you would see, and the sounds you’d hear to really get into your visualization.

Tip #6 – Ask Experts About Healthy Sedation Dentistry

If anxiety is such a problem that you can’t overcome it, you may need to talk to your dentist about sedation dentistry. Different levels of sedation are available, depending upon your needs and the procedure that’s being done. Something that keeps you relaxed but awake during treatment may prove helpful, whether it’s gas sedation, oral sedation, or IV sedation. In some cases, anti-anxiety medications may also be prescribed for you to take before treatment to help you better relax.

Don’t let dental anxiety keep you from getting the dental treatment that you need. Use these tips to calm dental anxiety so you have a better experience at the dentist and get the care you need for a healthy, beautiful smile.