When you visit the dentist, does your heart start pounding as your mind starts racing? Do you feel anxious and nervous in the days leading up to your appointment? You're not alone. Dental anxiety is exceedingly common. If yours is so severe that it has kept you out of the dental chair for years, your best bet is to seek treatment from a clinical psychiatrist. However, for milder cases of dental anxiety, there are a few steps you can take on your own to calm your fears and make your appointment less nerve-wracking.
Schedule an early morning appointment, and let your dentist know about your anxiety.
When you call to make your appointment, ask to schedule it as early in the morning as possible. This way, you will get into the office when it's less busy. The calmer, less-busy environment will make it easier for you to relax. The staff will also still be fresh, rather than tired from dealing with patients all day, so they may be more patient and sensitive in dealing with you. When you make your appointment, tell the receptionist that you have a lot of dental anxiety. (Really, there's nothing to be ashamed of.) He or she may allot more time for your appointment so your dentist can work more slowly and keep you calm throughout the process. The receptionist may also schedule you with a dentist or hygienist who is known for being better at dealing with nervous patients.
Bring your headphones.
To keep your mind from going crazy as your dentist pokes around in your mouth, bring your headphones. Make a playlist of your favorite tunes prior to the appointment, and then blast it into your ears throughout the appointment. The sound will distract you and will also camouflage noises like drilling and scraping, which can make anxiety worse for many patients.
Talk to a friend about your anxiety.
You may never have even thought about what it is about the dentist that makes you feel this way, and this exercise forces you to do so. Once you actually say out loud what you're really afraid of, you might realize how ridiculous it sounds – which may make it easier to get past it. Find a friend you can trust, and verbalize to them exactly what makes you nervous or scared about going to the dentist. They can just listen if they want, or if they have some advice, they can offer it. You may never have even thought about what it is about the dentist that makes you feel this way, and this exercise forces you to do so. Contact a business, such as Sun City Dental, for more information.