Dental anxiety, or odontophobia, affects millions of people. For some, it’s mild, for others, it’s so severe that they avoid going to the dentist altogether, putting their oral and overall health in danger.
If you have dental anxiety, here are some ways you can manage it so you can get access to the care you need so you can enjoy your healthiest and most beautiful smile.
Where Does Dental Anxiety Come From?
Everyone’s dental anxiety develops in different ways, so you may not even be able to pinpoint the exact cause of yours. You could have had a bad experience at a previous dental appointment, or were perhaps scared of all of the unfamiliar sights and sounds when you visited the dentist as a child. Some people get nervous about having instruments in their mouths or about the potential to feel pain during a procedure.
Some ways you can tell if you have dental anxiety is if you experience sweaty palms, a racing heartbeat, panic attacks, or tightness in your chest before or during dental appointments.
Ways to Manage Dental Anxiety
Here are a few ways you can manage your dental anxiety:
Bring a Friend
If possible, bring a friend or loved one to your appointment so you can have some support during your appointment. You can even bring them along with you to your treatment!
If you have control over your breath, your body and mind can calm down significantly and get out of fight or flight mode. Taking slow, measured breaths can help you center yourself when you feel anxiety coming. Try inhaling slowly for four seconds, holding your breath for seven seconds, and slowly exhaling for eight seconds. Keep repeating that pattern until you feel better.
Talk to Your Dentist Beforehand
If it’s your first time visiting a new dental office, chat with your dentist before you arrive for your appointment. This way you can get to know them and have a familiar face to greet you when you arrive for your appointment.
Sedation dentistry is fantastic for those with dental anxiety. Whether you opt for nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, or go for a more relaxing treatment like oral conscious sedation, there are options for those who prefer to be more at ease or even asleep during their dental treatment.
Professional & Affordable Dental Care in Southbridge, MA
Don’t let dental anxiety get the best of you or your health. At Southbridge Dental Care, our team is dedicated to caring for each of our patients and enjoy working with patients to overcome their dental anxiety and enjoy healthy smiles. Contact us to learn more about our affordable services and to schedule an appointment today!