You may as well face the truth: the thought of going to the dentist fills you with dread. Whether your fear is from a bad childhood experience, the sound made by those whirring Dental Parts, or a general aversion to someone poking around in your mouth, you are not alone. The next time you have to go for a cleaning, try these three techniques to face the dentist chair with confidence.
Understand Your Fear
If you know why the dentist is such a terrifying experience for you, it will be easier to overcome that fear. If you had a bad experience with a dentist, finding one that is drastically different may be helpful. If the sound of the drill makes you cringe, noise-canceling headphones may be all you need.
Manage the Pain
There are many options to manage pain while having dental work done. Some dentists use sedation to calm patients, and may even offer general anesthesia for major procedures. New technology like lasers and surface blasting can remove tooth decay without the pain (and sound) of a traditional dental drill.
The American Dental Association recommends practicing distraction and mindfulness techniques to help you overcome the fear of the dentist. Distraction can be listening to a book on tape or occupying your hands with a simple tool such as a stress ball. Mindfulness techniques include a wide range of practices that can help you breeze through even the most stressful situation. Deep, rhythmic breathing can help focus your mind and relieve stress. It may even help to lower your blood pressure. Practicing a simple meditation technique can be helpful, especially if you make it a regular part of every day.
Work Through Dental Anxiety
Take each trip to the dentist as it comes. Perhaps most importantly, take care of your teeth by brushing and flossing regularly to keep them healthy and avoid invasive procedures down the road.