If you are like many people, a visit to the dentist is one of the most painful and stressful appointments that you endure. And you have to go twice a year. Some avoid the dentist because they are nervous about the possibility of a cavity or because they fear the drill. Whatever the reason, too many people skip their important dental visits out of anxiety.
However, ignoring these appointments can damage more than just your oral health. Poor dental care can lead to infections, strokes and heart disease. You can avoid a painful dental visit and smile more. Here are a few suggestions we hope will help:
1. Find a dental team you can trust.
Trusting your dental team will go a long way toward easing your fears and your pain. Anxieties are related to many types of fears. Therefore, find a professional who is able to read your cues, answer your questions and calm your concerns. If you trust the person doing the work, you will be better able to get through the appointment.
2. Prepare a list of questions to ease your concerns.
Once you find a professional you trust, prepare a list of questions to help you feel more at ease. Think deeply about your fears and concerns about your visit. Then, ask for clarification on any procedures.
A few common questions that might lessen your anxiety include:
• Can you explain what you are doing with my teeth?
• What does that (tool) do?
• How could I improve my oral hygiene?
• Why is it necessary to do ____ (procedure)?
• What are my options for that tooth?
• If I get nervous, what signal can I give you to stop?
3. Consider meditating before your appointment.
Meditation, essential oils and deep breathing are not for everyone. However, these can be helpful and calming before a dental visit.
For example, try dabbing a little chamomile or lavender essential oil on your temples or at your pulse points for relaxation. You could also use a heated neck wrap or squeezable stress ball before and during your appointment.
During the appointment, take care to breath slowly and deeply using your diaphragm. This can help counteract the adrenaline that may be coursing through your body. Clear your mind and think happy thoughts. Also, try to smile throughout the procedure to keep your spirits up.
4. Keep your regular appointments.
Going to the dentist regularly can prevent many problems with your teeth. For example, you will have fewer cavities and be less likely to require complex dental work, such as a root canal.
People who skip appointments are at risk for larger problems and more extensive procedures. Frequently cancelling or rescheduling appointments can lead to poor oral health. However, it also increases anxiety. The longer you put off your visit, the more worked up you may get. Therefore, schedule the visit, put it on your calendar, and make it a point to attend.
5. Practice good oral health every day.
Many people are tempted to attack their teeth with extra vigor right before an appointment. However, aggressively brushing a tooth that seems discolored or flossing until your gums bleed is not a good idea.
You may be worried that your hygienist or the dentist will judge the state of your mouth. However, last minute attacks on a tooth will be obvious to the oral professionals. In addition, you may do more harm than good.
Therefore, make sure that you brush at least twice a day and floss regularly to keep your mouth happy and your smile beautiful.
A dental visit does not have to be painful. With the proper care and preparation, you can have a calm and comfortable appointment.
Read next: 5 Reasons Why You Need Dental Insurance