Coming to the dentist for a checkup every 6 months is one of the most important things you can do for your oral health. People often site dental anxiety as their reason for not coming in, but if you prolong your visits it may end up making the dentist more stressful. Here are some tips to help you relax and feel better at the dentist.
- Speak up
First, tell the people around you how you’re feeling, and ask if someone you trust will come with you to the dentist. Sometimes it helps to have a familiar face with you while you’re in the chair. Next, speak up and tell the receptionist, your hygienist, or even dentist how you’re feeling. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable. It might also help to ask the hygienist to walk you through what’s going to happen during your appointment, so nothing comes as a surprise to you. Being in the know can help with your anxiety.
If you know you’re going to be anxious when it comes to the dentist, try to distract yourself. Some dentist offices have TVs or play music during your appointment. If yours doesn’t, ask if you can bring headphones to help block out the noise and distract you from what the dentist is actually doing. It may also help to bring something to do with your hands, whether it’s a stress ball or just something to fidget with and divert your mind.
3. Mindfulness techniques
First, try things like counting your breaths or counting back from 99. Concentrate on relaxing your muscles, one at a time. For example, start by releasing tension in your feet, then your legs, and so forth all the way up your body. These types of exercises slow your heart rate and help you relax. When you become anxious, a lot of times you take in less oxygen which can add to the stress on your body.
In reality, no one really likes to go to the dentist, but it’s so important to try to push past your fear so you can take care of your teeth. Remember, if you’re having anxiety, tell us, and we’ll try to make you as comfortable as possible. Set up your appointment today!