According to Iqaluit Dental Clinic, dental anxiety or dental phobia is a very real thing and the most common reason why people avoid visiting their dentists regularly. The fear of visiting a dentist can stem from a variety of reasons that include bad experiences in the past, fear of needles and pain, and more.
You are not alone in this regard. In fact, over one-third of the population is affected by dental anxiety. However, if you don’t visit the dentist every six months or so, you can suffer from oral problems that could’ve been avoided easily.
Tips & Tricks
Here are a few tips you can follow to overcome dental anxiety:
- Practice deep breathing and relaxation techniques – Performing deep breathing exercises can allow you to relax during stressful situations and ease your anxiety and fear. You just need to close your eyes, breathe in deeply through your nose, hold it for a few seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this several times until you feel your heartbeat slow down and you begin to feel relaxed.
You can also practice different types of meditation techniques such as the guided imagery technique to feel happier and evoke nostalgic memories. Other promising relaxation techniques include autogenic relaxation, diaphragmatic breathing, Jacobsen’s progressive muscular relaxation, Ost’s applied relaxation technique, functional relaxation therapy, and more.
- Try a sensory-adapted environment – You can opt to visit a dental clinic that features a sensory-adapted dental environment (SDE), also known as “The Snoezelen environment”.
This basically means that the dental clinic will adjust the decor and structure of their waiting room and treatment area considering all the five senses in order to prevent arousing the senses too much. A sensory-adapted dental environment features the following:
- Vibroacoustic stimuli
- Partially dimmed lights with lighting effects
- Deep pressure massage
- Practice behaviour modification techniques – There are a variety of behavioural modification techniques you can practice to reduce dental anxiety and stress. Generally, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is the most useful approach since it offers a long-term solution for reducing dental anxiety and also helps to improve your mental health.
Some of the most useful behavioural modification techniques include:
- Exposure therapy
- Guided imagery
- Positive reinforcement
- Request anxiety-relieving medication – If you experience moderate to severe anxiety, the techniques mentioned above may not work for you. In such cases, your only option is to request for an anxiety-relieving medication.
Your dentist may also provide you with an analgesic or over-the-counter drug to relieve pain. You can also opt for nitrous oxide, commonly known as ‘laughing gas’, which you have to breathe before the procedure. However, it is an expensive option which is not recommended unless you really need it.
Iqaluit Dental Clinic suggests you thoroughly communicate with your dentist and discuss your fears since they are trained to calm you and relieve your anxiety. You can agree on a stop signal that consists of a hand gesture or a motion to request the dentist to stop during the procedure if you feel anxious.