One of the best things you can do to help ease your dental phobia is to communicate with your dentist.
1. Talk with your dentist about your fears
If you’re nervous about the dental procedure hurting you or feeling pain in your mouth, let your dentist know beforehand. Your hygienist and dentist are there to help, and can go over the procedure with you beforehand to ensure you have clear expectations to help ease your anxiety.
Here at Timberhill Dental, we’ll talk with you about your worries and discuss the best treatment option for you. This could be something as simple as providing you with a warm comforting blanket at your appointment, to trying our conscious sedation dentistry.
2. Develop a system to show when you are feeling uncomfortable and need space
We can see how some patients might feel claustrophobic when they visit the dentist. Maybe they feel overly confined in the dental chair, or perhaps it’s the simple fact of having their mouth open but being unable to speak clearly that causes discomfort.
If this is the case for you, simply tell your dental hygienist and dentist beforehand. We will work out a communication system — like raising your hand — that will signal us when you need a moment of space.
3. Know that our dentists won’t judge
Perhaps you put off treatment and feel ashamed or embarrassed about the current state of your mouth. Or, maybe you haven’t been in to see the dentist for years and are worried about what they’ll find when they finish their exam. Will they scold you for not flossing? Or tease you about finding two cavities?
Our doctors and team at Timberhill Dental want you to know that we will never judge you for the state of your mouth. We’re here to welcome you with care and compassion and are dedicated to helping you reconnect with your oral health, wherever you’re at.
4. Practice deep breathing
When we get anxious, we tend to breathe shallower and faster. This in turn raises your heart rate and causes your muscles to tense up.
As you’re sitting in the waiting room or laying in the dentist’s chair and start to feel your breathing speeding up or your heart rate increase, take a second to steady your breath. Taking deep, nasal breaths not only relaxes muscle tension that may arise when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, but it also signals the brain that it’s okay to relax.
5. Distract yourself
Does the sound of the drill bother you? Or maybe it’s the moment the dentist chair begins to recline. Whatever the reason for feeling uneasy at the dentist, try distracting yourself to keep yourself calm.
- Listen to your favorite music
- Picture a calming environment and imagine as many specific details about it as you can
- Think of a positive memory and try to remember it in as much detail as possible