It is not unusual to feel a little apprehensive when a dental appointment is looming. Trust me, we get it. There are annoying noises and people you hardly know are putting their hands in your mouth. But for some patients even being in the practice can be a very difficult situation for them. Dental anxiety is estimated to affect approximately 36% of the population. A further 12% of people suffer from extreme dental fear.
What causes dental anxiety?
This anxiety may be as a result of a bad experience as a child or as a result of other people’s anxiety influencing your own thoughts and feelings. A parent can even pass on their own fear onto their child without even realising that they are doing it!
Anxiety may be made worse by hearing the dental drill or thinking about local anesthetic – especially for sufferers of needle phobia. Fear of pain, blood, choking, gagging, or feeling out of control or vulnerable whilst in the dental chair. All of these reactions are completely understandable. But they are not untreatable.
Tips to help with dental anxiety
1. The most important tip is to make sure you tell us!
If we know how you are feeling then we will make a special effort to help you feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible. We will talk you through your appointment and answer any questions that you may have. If you are unsure about anything then please don’t be afraid to ask.
If a lack of control is one of your main stressors, actively participating in a discussion with your dentist about your treatment can ease your tension. We can guide you through the procedure and we’re happy to explain every step we take to make you feel at ease. We can even possibly give you a longer appointment so that we take every step at the most comfortable step.
2. Listening to Music
Some patients find that listening to music is helpful so bring your mobile phone or iPod with you so that you can listen to your own music. Our radio is always on so you can always try focusing on whatever song we have playing. Though we can’t make any promises that your favourite tune will be playing.
3. Find a Good Talker
Alternatively, our dentists can do the talking to possibly distract you! We can talk about the weather, our favourite movies, high school memories, you name it! Just let us know and we’re ready with 100 icebreakers and topics.
You can also bring a friend or relative to the appointment for moral support. Make sure they’re the kind to bring you to calm rather than make the visit more stressful. We all have that one friend/family member. They can sit in the room with you, talk to you as you’re there, or just be a peaceful, comfortable presence to help you get through.
Feel free to contact us at our clinics with any questions or to book an appointment.