If your nerves get the best of you before an appointment at the dentist's office, you're not alone. Many people feel anxious when visiting the dentist, but there are ways to keep your cool and make your experience more comfortable. Here's how:
Relax before your visit: There are lots of relaxation techniques worth trying out before a dental visit, such as meditation, yoga, taking a warm bath, deep breathing or even going on a nice walk. All these things may help lower stress levels. Listen to calming music on the car ride over to put yourself in the right mindset.
Arrive early to your appointment: Leaving and arriving early for your dental appointment will prevent added stress brought on by rushing around. Give yourself plenty of time to check in and fill out paperwork so you can read a book or magazine or listen to music while you wait to meet with your dentist.
Bring items that make you comfortable: Young or old, patients might want to bring along a favorite book, album or lucky charm to brighten their experience. Kids often enjoy carrying a doll, an action figure, a pillow or a blanket with them to reduce dental anxiety.
Communicate with your dentist: A fear of dentists typically derives from anticipation of pain and lack of control that patients feel when lying in the dental chair. So, after greeting the dental professional, nervous individuals should be more assertive about their needs. Say to the dentist, "I want to talk about what can be done to make the visit more comfortable. I don't want someone to tell me something doesn't hurt me." Like any other relationship, communication is key.
Remember why you're there: Keep in mind that the reason you're visiting the dentist is to maintain a healthy smile. Dental professionals are not aiming to make you frown.
Stay diligent on brushing and flossing: The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth for two minutes in the morning and two minutes in the evening every day, and flossing once a day. However, the average person brushes for less than half the recommended time with a lackadaisical 45 seconds a day. By spending more time preventing problems at home, patients can shorten their visit at the dentist and make the experience more enjoyable.
Next time you have an appointment scheduled, try these simple tricks to lower your anxiety.