When you have a fear of attending a dental check-up, it is no laughing matter.
Indeed, as many as 1 in 4 adults in the UK report having anxieties surrounding visiting their dental practitioner, and with dental phobia consistently being in the top 10 phobias reported, this dislike of the dental chair doesn’t seem to be fading any time soon.
And it is an unfortunate fact that people who have dental anxieties often experience more dental pain than those who regularly attend their check-ups, which compounds the fear even further.
But dental teams are not blind to this plight and today, many surgeries are able to offer phobic patients additional help when they enter the surgery; everything from listening to music in the dental chair to having sedation are now common practices at almost every dentist Sydney.
However, what things can you try to ease your worries when booking your dental appointment? In this article, some of these will be explored.
In modern times, the benefits of practices like deep-breathing exercises and mindfulness are becoming a mainstay in managing many minor mental health issues. And when it comes to anxiety, this can certainly be helpful.
When you are waiting to see your dentist for your appointment, practise inhaling while counting to 5, hold your breath for 5 seconds, and breathe out for 8. This will slow your heart rate and prevent you from feeling anxious. And best of all, you can practise this as often as you want to. Be aware that this may not ease your phobia if it is more moderate to severe.
Another eastern practice that has made its way into western culture is meditation. Don’t worry, you don’t have to meditate as often as the Buddha did to benefit from it and it can certainly help alleviate any worries you have about visiting your dental practice.
There are many guided meditations available on the internet and there are even apps on your phone which you can use to ease your anxieties and phobias.
Communication is the key to success and if your worries that surround dentistry are based on not knowing what is being done, talk openly to your dental team.
This will allow you to work on non-verbal communication with your dental practitioner, such as hand signals to signal when you want them to stop. Also, if you want your dental team to talk you through each stage of the treatment, tell them!
Friends and family
Why not make your next trip to the dental surgery a day out? Take along a friend or family member to sit with you while your dental team works on your mouth and then, depending on how you are feeling, go out for a coffee afterwards. Nothing is better for breaking anxiety than a positive association!
Sometimes, you may need more help to break your worries and if you have a trauma related to dentistry, seek out phobia based counselling to help you overcome your fear.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified practitioner.