How to relax at the dentist
If you break out in a sweat even thinking of going to the dentist you’re not alone. One in four adults are afraid of going to the dentist. But don't let fear of the dentist stop you from getting regular dental check-ups or proper dental treatment. Read on to find out more about how advances in dental medicine are making trips to the dentist less painful, and for tips on how to relax at the dentist.
If you suffer from a dental phobia it’s probably been many years since you’ve gone to the dentist. And there have certainly been advances since your last visit. The new tools and treatments are designed to be less painful and less invasive than previous procedures. For example, we can now use a dental wand if you have a needle phobia. The wand looks like a pen and delivers anaesthetic very slowly, making the injection painless. We can also numb your gums before an injection so you don’t feel the needle.
Another change is among dentists ourselves. Dentists are generally more sensitive to patients with dental anxiety than in the past. We recognise how difficult it is for some patients to even set foot in the front door. If you have a dental phobia please let us know so we can do our best to make you as comfortable as possible. We are trained to help you manage dental anxiety.
1) Start by choosing a dentist you feel comfortable with. We have a wide variety of dentists on staff and will work with you to find the one that makes you feel most at ease.
2) Choose an early morning appointment. This way you’ll have less time to worry about your upcoming visit to the dentist.
3) Be prepared. Ask us any questions you have about the procedure beforehand. Knowing what to expect helps many patients feel more comfortable during the procedure. We’ll also do our best to explain what we’re doing each step of the way to help ease any fears.
4) Bring a friend along with you to your appointment. We don’t mind if someone comes with you for support during your exam or treatment. Make sure it’s someone who isn’t afraid of the dentist and that can help put you at ease.
5) Use distraction to battle your dental anxiety. While you’re waiting for your appointment or for your dentist to set up, try reading a magazine, watching a video, or playing a favourite game on your phone. If your mind is engaged in another activity it’s less likely to be worried.
6) Listen to relaxing music. Research has shown that music reduces stress and eases anxiety. Choose something soothing, like classical or light jazz. You might also want to try listening to a meditation designed for reducing anxiety. Check out the Best Anxiety Apps of 2018 by Healthline for a great list of anxiety-reducing apps you can download to your phone.
7) Use deep breathing to calm your mind and body. See 6 Breathing Exercises to Relax in 10 Minutes or Less for a variety of different techniques you can try.Find the one that helps you to relax the most.
8) Agree on a signal with your dentist to stop if you are feeling uncomfortable. As you may not be able to communicate verbally at that moment you need a non-verbal signal such as a hand movement. Your dentist or hygienist can stop and give you a few moments to recover before they continue.
9) For extreme dental phobia ask us about sedation. For more involved procedures we can use nitrous oxide or intravenous conscious sedation to help ease both pain and anxiety.