How to Manage your Anxiety About Going to the Dentist
Dental phobia is an incredibly common condition thought to affect somewhere between 13% to 24% of people worldwide. If you’re someone who dreads the dentist’s chair and puts off appointments until you’re in pain, then read on to learn how to assuage your anxiety about going to the dentist.
Breathing techniques can be a great way to draw your focus away from your anxiety
and alleviate your symptoms. Other relaxation techniques you can try include progressive muscle relaxation and self-hypnosis. To get the most out of these exercises, it’s best to practice them a few times before your appointment.
To avoid fixating on the appointment or what is happening in the dentist’s chair, try distracting yourself by listening to music, an audiobook or a podcast you like. Ideally, the content you’re listening too should be light-hearted or even humorous to alleviate the tension you are feeling.
Fear of going to the dentist is common and so nowadays, most dental professionals study anxiety alleviation techniques as part of their training. If you are feeling some anxiety in regards to going to the dentist, let the dental professional know about your feelings and fears. There are several common techniques dentists learn to assist dental phobic patients including:
- An interactive ‘tell-show-do’ approach where the dentist will explain what they’d like to do, shows you the equipment and demonstrate the procedure, and then perform the procedure
- Break down a visit into manageable chunks using a structured time technique so patients don’t feel overwhelmed
- Using a stop signal so patients feel in control of the situation.
- Desensitisation where a series of steps are taken to build the patient up to a point where they feel ready for the procedure
- A rehearsal technique where a procedure is simulated before it is performed so that the patient knows what to expect next
If you have tried these techniques and still find that the prospect of a trip to the dentist causes anxiety to the point where it prevents you from seeking professional dental care, then it may be worth working with a psychologist to develop coping mechanisms. A psychologist may work with you to identify the underlying causes of your dental phobia, provide behavioural therapy or use hypnosis to help shift your mindset and lessen your anxiety.
Eden Rise Dental is a centrally located Berwick dental surgery offering a comprehensive range of cosmetic, orthodontic, and general dentistry services. Book your appointment with us today by calling 9702 6111.