Three Ways To Reduce Anxiety At The Dentist

People who don't have severe dental fear still sometimes experience moments of anxiety during dentist appointments, especially in the waiting room or during check-ups and treatments. Luckily, this anxiety is likely to respond well to the techniques below.

Try Breathing And Visualisations

It can feel like your anxiety simply flares up in the dentist's chair, often without a particular reason. This makes it really difficult to prepare. However, there are things you can do to calm yourself down in the chair. You could distract yourself by counting or listing things, or you could visualise yourself in a calming, relaxing place. Trying a breathing exercise might also be a good idea. Very Well Mind describes how to do a very simple one, involving breathing very slowly and evenly from your stomach. It is a good idea to practice before you go to the dentist so your breathing and visualisations are second nature by the time you get into the chair.

Communicate With Your Dentist

You might be feeling anxiety due to a lack of control or a feeling that you can't communicate with the dentist. You can reduce your anxiety by speaking to your dentist — even pointing out that you are anxious might help. You can also talk about what is about to happen, ask questions about the tests or treatment you are about to have, and ask about aftercare and pain. There are even hand signals you can use to tell your dentist certain things, like that you want them to stop, rinse your mouth or give you a short break. 

Find Solutions To Your Fear

Experiencing a bit of anxiety in the dentist's chair isn't always related to dental fear, but it is worth figuring out whether your anxiety is related to a larger fear. For example, as described above, a fear of not being able to speak or communicate may be reduced by agreeing on hand signals with the dentist. If you are nervous about the cleanliness of your teeth or about the dentist telling you off, work on cleaning your teeth thoroughly and efficiently. If you think that your anxiety stems from bad childhood experiences, talk them through with a friend or family member. Spend some time analysing your thoughts and working out what might help you to feel less anxious next time.

Anxiety can make your visits to the dentist more difficult, but if you communicate honestly and effectively with your dentist, prepare your breathing and work through the causes of your anxiety, you can reduce your anxiety and feel great at the dentist.