Dental anxiety can lead you to put off going to the dentist even when you need care. Putting off routine care allows small problems to become major ones, and can even mean losing teeth.
At Healthy Smile Dental, Dr. Hannah Baek and our staff know that fear of going to the dentist can be intense, so we work with you to help ease your worries. We make sure you’re comfortable, understand what procedures we’re doing, and why. Before your appointment, be sure to check out this list of tips to help overcome dental anxiety.
Talk it out
Anxiety gets worse when you try to hide it. The most important step in overcoming your dental fear is to talk about it. Tell our staff that you suffer dental anxiety when you schedule your appointment. If there are specific things that make you uncomfortable, let us know.
You can also tell us again when you get here. If you’re anxious, we’re happy to listen and try to make you as comfortable as we can. We may even have solutions for you.
Give a signal
If the idea of being unable to communicate during a procedure worries you, tell us. We can agree on a signal that you can make to let us know you need a pause or break. For example, your signal can be raising your left hand.
Many patients with dental anxiety find that bringing along headphones to listen to a podcast or music can help ease their feelings of fear. Other distraction options may be a fidget spinner, stress ball, or other item to occupy your hands.
Harness the power of mindfulness
You don’t have to go on a retreat or learn to meditate like a yogi to reap the benefits of mindfulness. Practice sitting still and breathing in slowly for a count of four, then exhaling for a count of four. Do this five times.
With just a little practice, mindfulness can help you learn to relax purposefully. Before your dental appointment, do your short breathing exercise.
You can do the same thing during your procedure, as long as you’re careful to breathe through your nose. If you begin to feel stressed, breathe in and out, counting to four. If it doesn’t help, use the signal you’ve agreed on to request a pause.
Each experience is a new one
One bad apple can spoil the barrel, but when it comes to dental care, that doesn’t have to be the case. If you’ve had a bad experience, remember that you now have a list of tools to help you relax, and that this visit is different from the unpleasant one.
Using clear communication, distractions, and mindfulness you can overcome your dental anxiety, and our caring staff is here to help! Don’t let dental fear keep you from having a great smile. Schedule your appointment at Healthy Smile Dental today.