Many people struggle with fear of the dentist. If you’re feeling nervous or even scared before going to the dentist and looking for ways to calm your nerves, you’re not alone. It’s important to us that our patients feel comfortable and we have some suggestions that may help. Here are some ways to calm dental anxiety.
1. Talk to Your Dentist About Your Concerns or Anxiety
Telling your dentist if you’re feeling nervous can be one of the most helpful ways to calm dental anxiety because being transparent gives your dentist the opportunity to build your trust as they walk you through the process of what’s next for your exam, cleaning or procedure. Knowing your dentist understands how you feel and knowing what to expect can go a long way towards calming nerves. Ask your dentist to help you plan ways to communicate if you’re feeling anxious during the procedure.
2. Plan the Day of Your Dental Visit
Try to make sure that the day your dental visit is scheduled for is an otherwise low-key day or that you at least have some time before or after your dental visit so that you can take some deep breaths and relax rather than hurrying to arrive on time or rushing someplace directly afterwards.
3. Practice Calming or Grounding Exercises
Practicing deep breathing is one helpful calming technique. Other calming or grounding mindfulness techniques also include exercises like checking in with your 5 different senses. An example of this type of exercise may look like counting five things you can see, four things you can feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste. Try to notice things you don’t normally notice, whether pleasant or unpleasant, and keep a stick of sugar free gum or grab a favorite tea to sip for the last one. Try practicing different mindfulness techniques until you find one or two that works for you and then add them to your personal list of ways to help calm dental anxiety.
4. Limit Sugar and Caffeine
Consuming food or drinks containing caffeine or sugar may further elevate your heart rate and anxiety or simply leave you feeling extra jittery. Drinking water and caffeine free alternatives or teas with soothing herbs like chamomile or peppermint may be helpful ways to calm dental anxiety.
5. See Your Dentist Regularly
Visiting your dentist more regularly can help to quell possible fears that something may be wrong with your teeth. It is usually recommended that you visit your dentist every six months which can help give your dentist an opportunity to notice any issues before they become problems. If you’re looking to be proactive about ways to calm dental anxiety, visiting more routinely can also help to normalize the process for yourself, and help build trust and rapport with the dentist and dental staff.
Call our Omaha Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.