Although most adults feel alone regarding the fear and anxiety that comes with dental visits, as many as 20% of Americans avoid going to the dentist as long as possible. While this classic avoidance behavior may work for a time, in the long run it can create an even bigger problem that requires longer, more expensive, and more painful treatment plans. As with dealing with any other phobia, one of the first and most important steps in coping with fear of the dentist is to identify the root cause. Whether the anxiety manifests from a fear of pain, the loss of control, or even simple embarrassment, knowing the true reason you’re afraid to go to the dentist will aid both you and your provider in developing ways to manage your stress.
1. Try to find a way to relax
One of the most basic and effective ways to cope with high stress situations is to find a way to calm oneself. Many patients use meditation for relaxation. The same mindful techniques can be applied while sitting in the dentist’s chair – breathing slowly and deeply in and out of the nose while concentrating on your breath. These techniques focus your mind away from the immediate fear and stress of the procedure and place your attention elsewhere. Another form of meditation that many people use in daily life is listening to a soothing podcast or creating a relaxing playlist. Dr. Page plays soothing music while she works. You can bring your own music or listen to our playlist and use our noise cancelling headphones .
2. Learn about what will be happening during your appointment
At Page Dental Group, we love when patients want to know more about what will be happening during their visit. Our friendly team is always happy to spend some time walking you through our approach and telling you what to expect. We like to use the “Tell-Show-Do” approach. As the name suggests, Dr. Page can explain what is involved in the procedure and give you a chance to ask questions about anything which may make you nervous. Next, she will show you exactly what is involved in the procedure by showing you the equipment and/or demonstrating on your finger. By taking the opportunity to learn all steps involved in treatment, when it comes time to “Do,” you will have been able to rid yourself of the fear of the unknown and create an environment in which to cope with your anxiety.
3. Find friendly faces
By placing yourself in a familiar, soothing setting you will be able to alleviate at least some of the stress that may add to the anxiety surrounding your dental visit. It helps to see the same friendly faces from visit to visit and to build a connection with your team. Our staff loves to hear updates on how you’re doing at work, your family, and we love to share vacation tips. We hope that by seeing you regularly we can keep your mouth in great shape and learn more about you.
4. Don’t rush yourself
Making sure you give yourself enough time to get to and from the dentist can aid in keeping anxiety surrounding your visit at bay. Page Dental Group offers flexible appointment times to fit your schedule. We always try to work with our patients to accommodate their needs. Make sure you find a time that will work best for your schedule so you have plenty of time to get in for your appointment.
Finally, make sure you find a provider that not only accommodates your needs, but also listens to your fears and anxieties surrounding the appointment. As with any other form of fear-confrontation or anxiety management, knowing the cause of the stress can aid both you and your dentist in creating a better experience with each dental visit. At Page Dental Group, we care about you and want to keep you healthy. We are always happy to help, and hope we can do so with your dental needs.