Dental Anxiety and How to Overcome It

Author: Jeff Salmeri

Oct 19, 2015 12:02:00 PM
It is a rare person indeed who actually enjoys an appointment with the dentist. Whether it's for a simple
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check-up or for more involved surgery, it's only natural to feel at least some trepidation while settling into the dentist's chair. Unfortunately for some people, this natural uneasiness is amplified way beyond the level that most patients experience, and develops into a true phobia that makes a visit to the dental surgery an ordeal. This results in a reluctance to have dental problems checked and fixed, and when this reluctance grows into a refusal it can have long term consequences which can be costly, and cause severe pain and discomfort. However, like any phobia, dental anxiety is eminently treatable, and can usually be resolved fairly simply when the dentist and the sufferer work together to overcome it. Here are some of the best ways to do just that.
Relaxation Techniques
Deep breathing, the tensing and relaxing of muscles, positive visualizations - all these traditional relaxation and calming techniques can be effective when it comes to dental anxiety. The key is to stop the fear and worry from spiraling out of control, and any good dental surgeon should be perfectly happy to pause during treatment to allow the patient to relax and calm the worrying thoughts before they take over completely. 
Listening to Music
Many people find that having music playing during treatment is helpful. Not only does it provide a focus to concentrate on, distracting from what the dentist is doing, but it can also help mask the often disturbing sounds of the dental equipment. Although relaxing and meditative music is the most common choice, some people find louder more energetic music to be a more effective distraction. 
Visual Distraction
Strange as it may sound, some people find that watching a movie or TV program helps to distract from the treatment, nipping fear and panic in the bud. This is more convenient option than it used to be in these days of tablet computers. 
Knowing What's In Store
While for some people distraction is the key to keeping the phobia under control, for others the opposite tack is more effective. If the dentist explains exactly what's going to happen, in as much detail as the patient can cope with, then the fear of the unknown is lessened which removes one important trigger of phobic reactions. Likewise, if the dentist explains exactly what's happening during every stage of the surgery, then the various noises and sensations can feel much less alarming than if they remain a mystery. 
Although a visit to the dentist is unlikely ever to be something to positively look forward to, there's no reason for anyone to experience extreme fear or a phobic reaction. Modern techniques mean that dental treatment is for the most part painless, and using the simple tips above will help most people get their dental anxiety under control and so enjoy the benefits of full dental health, and believe it or not, thanks to technology most people don’t mind the dentist at all.

Posted in: Modern Dentistry