If you've been avoiding the dentist out of fear or anxiety, you should know that you're not alone. Statistics show that between 30 million and 40 million Americans suffer from the debilitating condition. Unfortunately, avoiding the dentist means that you're also avoiding having your teeth taken care of, which means you could be facing extensive dental problems. Luckily, there are some things you can do to alleviate the distress. Here are four steps you can take to overcome dental anxiety.
Spend Some Time Relaxing
If you're feeling anxious about your dental visit, spend some time relaxing. Before your scheduled appointment, relax with a good book, go for a walk, or soak in your tub. You might even want to spend a few minutes meditating, or trying some deep-breathing exercises. Just make sure that you relax using a method that works for you.
Bring a Companion
If dental anxiety has you dreading the day, bring a companion along; a trusted friend, family member, or co-worker, whom you enjoy spending time with. Go out for a bite to eat before your appointment, so that you can get rid of some of your stress. Knowing that you have someone waiting for you in the dentists office will help reduce the anxiety you're experiencing. Plus, they'll be able to drive you home, if you don't feel like driving after your appointment.
Use a Distraction
If the sights and sounds of the dental office set your anxiety into motion, bring along a distraction. Once you're in the examination room, grab your headphones, and your tablet or video game, and entertain yourself during the exam. Whether you choose to listen to soothing music, or watch a movie, the distraction will keep your mind, and your eyes, off what the dentist is doing. Not only that, but the headphones will prevent you from hearing the noise that the dental equipment makes.
Request Dental Sedation
If your dental anxiety is so severe that you simply can't make it through an exam, it's time to talk to your dentist about sedation dentistry. Your dentist has several options available to relieve the distress you're experiencing. Nitrous oxide will help relax you, and can be administered throughout your procedure. There are also anti-anxiety medications that you can take prior to your appointment that will allow you to relax and sleep during your exam and dental work. If you're going to have sedation administered during your dental visit, be sure to bring someone with you.
Don't let anxiety keep you from seeing the dentist. Use the tips provided here to get the relief you need. Contact a dentist, like Little Peoples Dentistry, for more help.