Dental anxiety is a fairly common problem. In fact, 36% of people report having a fear of the dentist, with 12% of people labeling that fear as extreme. If you get anxious when you visit the dentist or simply at the thought of visiting a dentist’s office, you’re not alone!
Some people get anxious due to a bad experience that they had in the past. Some have existing anxiety from childhood. Others experience anxiety anew when getting a big procedure or in anticipation of a routine teeth cleaning. Whether you have mild anxiety or have an extreme fear that manifests in dental phobia, our dentists and hygienists can ensure you have a relaxing visit.
Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of the Dentist
Don’t let your anxiety stop you from maintaining good oral health. Here are some tips for how you can overcome your fear in the dentist’s chair.
Find the Right Dentist
Whether it’s CNS Dental or someone else, make sure your dental practice is one that you can trust. Sometimes finding a friendly dentist who understands you and your fears is enough to calm your nerves. Talk to your friends about the dentists they visit, look at reviews online, and even call the office to learn more about the practice. Find a dentist who understands your dental fears and who is prepared to help you through them.
If you’re reading this article, you’re already on the right track! It’s best to arm yourself with as many tools as possible to help you feel calm in the moment. Here are some simple steps you can take to make sure you feel comfortable before you sit down in the dental chair.
2. Bring Your Comforts With You
We all have our happy place. Try to make our office as much like your happy place as possible. Whether that means bringing headphones and listening to your favorite music, podcast, or an audio book, or bringing a close friend or trusted family member with you to ground you, having your comforts can be of great help.
3. Let Us Know!
While the thought of it might seem scary, sharing your fear actually will do a lot to put your mind at ease. Let your dentist know about your fear and what they can do to put your mind at ease. This is also a good opportunity to ask any questions that might be weighing on your mind.
4. Visit During Less Busy Hours
When you schedule your appointment, ask us when we’re anticipating it to be less busy (generally in the morning, though it can vary). Fewer people means fewer sounds and stimuli that might cause your anxiety to increase.
A common cure for anxiety disorders is exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is the act of putting yourself in a simulation of the situation that produces anxiety so that your brain can get used to what that situation might feel like. This trains your brain to think of the various sights and sounds of the dental office as being totally normal.
Much like with meditation, it’s best to practice exposure therapy regularly in small doses. Try lying down, closing your eyes, and imagining your upcoming dental procedure while you listen to the sounds of a dentist’s office. There are several videos out there with recordings of the various sounds you might hear. Here’s one you can try:
If your anxiety has reached the point that these tactics don’t provide the peace of mind that you’re looking for, CNS Dental offers sedation dentistry. Whether you’re coming in for a big procedure or a routine cleaning, we can ensure a stress-free, pain-free visit.
In order to apply for our sedation oral pill, you will need to present us with a doctor’s note proving eligibility. After that, we’ll confirm that the medication won’t conflict with anything you are already taking. You will take the pill in the comfort of your own home and have someone drive you to and from your appointment at CNS Dental.
CNS Dental provides many different types of dental health services for patients all over the D.C. metro area. Whether you’re looking for a routine cleaning, cosmetic dentistry, or even emergency dental care, we’ve got you covered. Give us a call to learn more about financing options or to schedule your appointment today.