Did you know that over 15% of Australian adults avoid going to the dentist due to fear and anxiety? Whether it’s the sharp tools, painful memories, or just a general sense of shame around one’s dental hygiene, there are many reasons why people experience dental anxiety. If you have trouble sleeping the night before a dental exam or get extremely nervous leading up to it, chances are you are experiencing dental anxiety. However, there are some actions you can take to mitigate these fears. Here are the five best ways to improve your dental worries:
- Tell Your Dentist!
This step is the most important because communication is vital. Go ahead and tell the dentist that you experience dental anxiety. Some people will go years with the same dentist without telling them this, and it causes more stress to build up. If a dentist and his/her staff respond negatively or rudely to this proclamation, then they aren’t the doctor for you, or quite frankly anyone.
- Book a Low-Stress Appointment Time
4 PM mid-week may not be the best time for this. The dentist’s office, or any medical office for that matter, can be a zoo at “rush hours.” The chaos of people in the waiting room is no fun way to start your trip, especially with dental anxiety.
- Be Careful What You Eat and Drink
This is crucial. DO NOT drink coffee/caffeine before a dental exam and make sure you’re not hungry. Eat high-protein foods and avoid sugary foods and drinks. Being jittery on caffeine only exacerbates fear and anxiety.
- Develop Hand Signals With Your Doctor
Before he/she starts whatever is going to be done on your teeth, creating hand signals is one of the best things you can do because talking is hard with hands in your mouth. Stick to signals like stop, go, and pain, etc. Make sure you both are on the same page.
- Listen to Music or Other Audio
Listening to music is not for everyone during an exam, but for some, it can be an escape from the room full of drill and prong noises. There’re many types of audio you can listen to that may help calm your nerves. From music to podcasts to audiobooks, anything seems better than the sounds of the office.
Don’t let your dental anxiety get the best of you any longer! The more dental work is put-off and neglected, the more trips to the dentist are going to be needed. Tee Family Dental is here to help make your dental visits painless, and anxiety free! If problems persist, Tee Family Dental offer sleep dentistry as an option for your next treatment.