Few illnesses are more widespread than oral diseases. Globally, these diseases affect close to 3.5 billion people. In certain cases, these illnesses can cause ongoing pain and discomfort, with some leading to disfigurement and, in certain cases, death.
Yet dental illnesses are easily preventable. Regular visits to your dentist can help boost your dental health. And if you already have a less-than-perfect set of teeth, your local orthodontist can quickly fix the problem.
But what happens if you suffer from dental anxiety? It is a condition that affects 50 to 80 percent of adults in the United States.
Dental anxiety can make you dread dental appointments. Given how critical these visits are for your dental health, this condition is something you need to deal with decisively.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to combat this type of anxiety. Here are seven of them.
Speak With Your Dentist About Your Anxiety
One of the easiest ways to ease dental anxiety is to communicate with your dentist or orthodontist. Find a local orthodontist you’re comfortable talking to, tell them what worries you the most about going to their office, and ask them if they can help make it better for you.
If you’re feeling shy or embarrassed, remember that your dentist is there to help you, and they want you to feel comfortable. Chances are they’ve been in the dental industry for some time and have probably heard it all before. Don’t be afraid to let them know what’s going on in your head.
Before starting any orthodontic procedure, ask what will happen and how long it will take. This way, you will have an idea of what to expect, and you won’t be as anxious.
Practice Meditation and Muscle Relaxation
Another great way to ease dental anxiety is through meditation and muscle relaxation. This can be done either before or during your dental appointment.
There are a lot of great resources out there on how to meditate and relax your muscles, so do some research online or ask your dentist for advice. Some people find that visualization exercises help them relax, while others prefer to focus on their breath.
Whatever method you choose, make sure to practice it regularly so that you can use it when you need it most.
Try Guided Imagery
Some people with dental anxiety find that guided imagery can be helpful. This is where you imagine yourself in a calm and relaxing place, such as the beach or a forest. This can help to distract you from any fears or worries that you may have and can make the dental appointment feel less scary.
You can either listen to a guided imagery audio recording or find one online, but it’s important to make sure that you choose the right one for your needs. The best orthodontist or dentist may also be able to recommend a few recordings that you can try.
Consider Breathing Exercises
You may also want to try breathing exercises before dental appointments to help with dental anxiety. Breathing in deeply through your nose and out of your mouth can be very calming, as it makes you focus on something physical instead of what’s going on around you.
This technique is easy and doesn’t require any special equipment or training. All that needs doing is when you breathe out, make sure that it comes from the diaphragm (not the chest), and count to ten after each breath.
Where dental anxiety is severe, hypnosis may be recommended as a treatment. During hypnosis, you’re in a relaxed state and can freely talk about what triggers your dental anxiety. By the end of the session, you may find that you’re better prepared to face orthodontic treatment.
This can be an effective way of dealing with dental anxiety for some people, but it’s important to make sure that you are comfortable with the idea of hypnosis before you try it. Your dental team will be more than happy to answer any questions that you have about the process.
For a long time, dental professionals have been using nasal and systemic analgesia to help people with dental anxiety.
Nasal analgesia involves inhaling a gas that helps relax you and ensure that your dental appointment is pain-free.
Systemic analgesia, on the other hand, works by putting an anesthetic into your bloodstream so that when it gets to the dental area, you are numb. This is a great option for people who have a lot of dental anxiety and need to be completely numb during their appointment.
Your dentist will be able to discuss which type of analgesia is best for you and can help you get set up with an appointment if needed.
Bring a Friend
Some people find dental anxiety easier to deal with when they have someone there for support and distraction. If you feel nervous or anxious about dental appointments, ask a friend or family member if they can come along and be present with you while you’re at the dentist’s office.
Your friend may help by simply sitting in the waiting room while you’re at your appointment. Or they may be there in the room during treatment time. In any case, having someone present may make dental appointments less frightening for you.
Don’t Let Dental Anxiety Keep You Down
Dental anxiety is a real thing for many people. The good news is that you can defeat it if you’re determined.
Try out a few of the techniques in this guide and see which ones work best for you. You may find that one method works better than another, or it could be a combination of all of the above.
Are you searching for a reliable local orthodontist in your area? Get in touch with us today and book an appointment.