Everyone has a fear of something, whether it is a fear of flying (pteromerhanophobia), a fear of heights (acrophobia), or even fear of thunder and lightning (astraphobia). Dental phobia is also a common fear. It is characterized by excessive, unreasonable fear around receiving dental care. Sadly, this fear can be limit your quality of life and cause you to postpone important treatments. Most people have mild to moderate nervousness about visiting the dentist, and full-blown fears are relatively rare. If you are feeling a bit nervous about your next dental appointment, here are a few easy ways to calm yourself.
Face Your Fears
A common technique to overcoming fear is to confront the feelings that come up. This doesn’t mean you need to make an appointment and white-knuckle your way through it. Just simply starting by thinking about your dental appointment and noticing the nervousness you feel is a good start. As you start to recognize nervousness and anxiety, try to trace back these feelings to specific thoughts that may be triggering these feelings. If you recognize a specific trigger, such as fear of getting jabbed in the gums with a sharp tool, or excruciating pain caused by treatment, then it would be very important to express these feelings to Dr. Vann before your appointment.
Dental treatments are usually at most uncomfortable, but there is no reason for them to be painful. When treatments that may cause pain are done, we use general anesthesia, or numbing, and can even to IV sedation. It’s also important to trust yourself that you are strong enough to deal with the fears as they crop up, as usually the fear of something is much greater than the reality that triggers the fear.
Try Taking Deep Breaths
Before your nervousness even settles in, take ten minutes to focus on your breath and try to allow yourself to relax. When we are nervous, our body tenses up and can throw our mind into fight-or-flight mode. After focusing on your breathing pattern for a few minutes, take one, deep breath all the way down to your abdomen, then slowly breathe out. Return back to normal, mindful breathing for a couple more minutes, then take another deep breath. Deep breathing will help calm your nerves and help you feel more relaxed before your appointment. Try these breathing exercises during your appointment too!
If you still feel a bit nervous about your appointment, give us a call at Vann Family Dental. We have worked with nervous patients many times and want to do everything we can to make you feel comfortable during your dental visit. Call us today or schedule your appointment online!
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