Dental anxiety is a serious issue for many people. Around 40 million Americans don't go to the dentist often enough because of their fears. There are many different reasons why people fear the dentist. Some are afraid of any pain that they may experience. Others feel helpless and a lack of control in the dental chair. Embarrassment is also a huge issue. The mouth is intimate for many people and they don't like people looking inside. Some are worried about being judged if they don't brush or floss often enough. Whatever the reason is for you, dental anxiety is keeping too many people from receiving proper oral care. If you are too nervous to go to a dental appointment, try these tips for calming your nerves.
Visit the office before your appointment
It might be too much for you to meet the dentist and see the office for the first time on the day of your appointment. For some people, it is very overwhelming. If you make your appointment over the phone, ask if you can come in to meet everyone at an earlier date. Dentists are aware that many people have these fears and will most likely be understanding. If your dentist isn't understanding, find one who is. You can meet the dentist and the staff, and have a quick look around the office. This will get you familiar with everything before your appointment. It may be more calming to picture the dentist and the office while you wait for you appointment.
Ask to hold the tools first
The tools at the dentist office are sharp and loud. It's only human nature to have reservations about them. Seeing big noisy tools go into your mouth out the corner of your eye isn't an easy thing to handle. Tell your dentist if they make you nervous at the beginning of your appointment. You might be much more calm during procedures if you hold the tools and have the dentist explain what they're all for. Maybe your dentist will even demonstrate how they work so you can hear them and see them in action before they go in your mouth.
Wear ear plugs or headphones
If the noise from the dental tools bothers you, earplugs are a big help. It will make everything less noisy and help you relax. You can even ask your dentist if you can wear some headphones instead. Plugging them into your phone or mp3 player to listen to music or a book will be a lot more relaxing than listening to a drill or electric brush.
Tell your dentist if you want the chair adjusted
Laying all the way back in the dental chair might make you feel vulnerable, which only accelerates panic. If you begin to panic when the chair goes back, tell your dentist. The dentist might agree to work with the chair only half way down, or put some pillows under you if comfort is the issue.
Wear nasal strips
Some people find it difficult to breath during dental work. This may be because they breathe through their mouth more than their nose, they're stuffed up, or the panic setting in makes it more difficult. Whatever the reason is, wearing a nasal strip can help. Nasal strips are made to open up your nasal passages at night and keep you from snoring. The extra air flow will help during a dental procedure.
Having dental anxiety is a common issue and you shouldn't feel alone. Talk to your dentist about your fears so he or she can work with you to help ease them. Wear ear plugs and a nasal strip if it helps during the procedures. Make sure you chair is adjusted to a comfortable level, and become familiar with the staff and dental tools before your appointment.