How to Manage Dental Anxiety

If you feel nervous at the very thought of visiting the dentist, you might suffer from dental anxiety. Anxiety might prevent you from getting routine checkups, filling cavities and getting other dental work done. Failing to go to the dentist is harmful to your teeth and gums. Instead of avoiding your appointments, learn some strategies to manage your anxiety.

Strategies to manage dental anxiety

Many dentists provide sedation options to patients who have anxiety. Those who need minimal sedation can choose nitrous oxide or oral medications. IV sedation is available for those who require moderate sedation. Patients are still awake but likely will not remember the procedure. General anesthesia is also available for those who have severe anxiety. Along with sedation dentistry options, patients can use some strategies to reduce anxiety naturally.

Talk to the dentist

Patients are often surprised by how much better they feel after discussing their anxiety with the dentist. During the discussion, patients should ask the dentist to explain the procedure. It is also wise to work out hand signals for patients to use. The dentist will stop the procedure if the patient displays the signal.

Have a distraction

Distractions are powerful tools for alleviating anxiety. Many patients listen to music or audiobooks while getting procedures. Listening through noise-canceling headphones reduces the anxiety even more. The headphones block out the sounds of the office.

Stress balls are also a distraction. Patients hold the ball and squeeze it when feeling anxious. The act of squeezing releases some of the stress and also changes the patients’ focus. As long as patients have the ball, they are distracted from the dental procedure.

Bring support

People often feel more comfortable when family and friends are around. Those who suffer from dental anxiety might benefit from bringing a support system with them for dental procedures. This needs to be discussed with the dentist up front. If the dentist agrees, the friend or family member can stay close by during the procedure.

Avoid caffeine

It is normal for people to reach for a cup of coffee or two throughout the day. Caffeine is a stimulant and it can cause people to feel nervous and anxious. People with dental anxiety should avoid caffeine on the day of the procedure. This will make it easier for them to stay calm during the appointment.

Exercise beforehand

Exercise causes the body to release endorphins. Endorphins have been compared to morphine because both activate the pleasure sensors and create a sense of well-being. Working out shortly before a dental procedure will give patients a calming and happy boost. This mood will carry over during the procedure and help people maintain a level of comfort at the dentist.

Stay calm at the dentist

You can have a calm, enjoyable appointment at your dentist, even if you suffer from anxiety. Talk to your dentist about your concerns, have a distraction in place and bring support if possible. Also, avoid caffeine and get in some exercise before your appointment. Then you will be in the right mindset to undergo a dental procedure or cleaning.

Request an appointment here: https://faverofamilydental.com or call Favero Family Dental at (310) 747-6532 for an appointment in our Torrance office.

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