Nervous about going to see your family dentist? You’re not alone. In fact, roughly 9 to 20% of Americans procrastinate dental work because of fear or anxiety, according to a 2014 study at Delhi University.
That’s sad, perhaps downright tragic, because not only do we miss seeing your smiling face, but regular dental visits is essential to dental health. That’s why our Cincinnati office always strives to be proactive rather than reactive. The good news is you don’t have to be afraid. Here are 5 tips for easing fear and anxiety to help you feel relaxed and confident in the dental chair.
Tell Us You’re Afraid
Communication builds trust. There’s a reason we make you hold a conversation with your mouth wide open and full of dental instruments. Yes, we think it’s hilarious how you slur your Rs, but we are actually trying to help you feel relaxed and at ease. Tell us what worries you. That way, we can adapt our treatment so you feel better.
Bring Some Music
Bring in your own music, something that makes you feel more relaxed. (You might want to skip the heavy metal and lean more acoustic guitar.) Keep your phone close to you so you can control the volume as you prefer. In order for us to communicate with you, put only one earbud in, perhaps in the ear that’s furthest away from the dentist. We may need to give you special instructions, such as open wider, swallow, or “You’re all done!”
You could also try the Sleepo app, which allows you to set an ongoing stream of relaxing sounds like flowing rivers, rhythmic oceans, or crackling campfires. The app is designed to provide white noise to encourage sleep, but it also works as a great relaxation tool and stress reducer.
Practice Breathing Techniques
Breathing plays such an essential role in meditation because it calms our center core. Physically, it increases oxygen flow to the bloodstream, which creates a healing energy and reduces panic. Count your breaths, in and out. You might even practice some light meditation techniques in the waiting room as you’re waiting for your appointment.
Tell Us When It Hurts
We’re dentists, not mind readers. If it hurts, tell us. Don’t be shy. We can always adjust the amount of numbing agent. It just takes a little pinch, but the pain relief is well worth it. And yes, your jaw may be number for a little longer following the procedure, but you’ll be much more comfortable in the long run.
Laughter is a Gas (Literally)
At Beckham Square Family Dental, we offer nitrous oxide for patients who feel especially nervous or suffer from dental anxiety. Commonly known as laughing gas, nitrous is a colorless, odorless gas (though sometimes we add organic sweet smelling aromas to psychologically increase its effects). We combine it with oxygen so it is an extremely safe relaxation agent. You feel like floating into the ceiling!