8 Options to Decrease Dental Anxiety
Many people have anxiety around going to the dentist, but did you know that there are options available to increase your comfort and help alleviate worries, concerns and fears? Not all options are available at every office, but here are some that may be available for you:
1. Caring Professionals Who Want to Help
Ok, I hope this option is available at all offices. If you find this isn’t the case, consider moving to another dental practice. Your number one resource at any office is the people in the office. They know what’s available to help make your visit the most comfortable it can be. They want you to discuss your concerns and fears so that they can help.
2. Sedation and Medication
There are many options within the sedation/medication world, with a spectrum of effects, from complete sedation to relaxation. Ask what’s available at your office and the staff can help you find the best fit for you.
Just because you are involved in the dental appointment, doesn’t mean you need to focus your attention on it. Watching a TV show or movie can be a welcome diversion. Many offices have TVs in the dental exam rooms.
Some offices have music players with headphones, but if not, you are usually welcome to bring your own. If you bring your own, of course you can select your own music – soothing nature sounds, a funny podcast or your favourite music that brings pleasant memories to mind.
5. Jaw Comfort Pads
For those who experience jaw aches or muscle fatigue, especially when keeping the mouth open for a long time, ask about jaw comfort pads. Small pieces of soft foam can be placed behind or near the molars so that your jaw can rest more comfortably.
6. Pillows and Blankets
You don’t need to just focus on the comfort in your mouth. Most offices have blankets and/or pillows to increase your overall comfort. Any time we increase our comfort (event a little bit), we are able to more fully relax and that helps make the overall experience better.
7. X-Rays that Don’t Involve Access to the Mouth
There is an option called Panoramic X-Rays, where they don’t need to put the x-ray film in the mouth. Everything is done with the camera outside of the body. This can help in situations where there is increased anxiety with items in the mouth.
8. Taking Breaks
You are allowed to pause procedures so that you can stretch, walk, breathe or just get re-settled. If you mention your wish for breaks to the dental staff at the beginning of the appointment, they can regularly check-in on how you are feeling and offer breaks that fit well with what they are doing.
And Bonus Option – Hypnotherapy!
With hypnotherapy we can help use relaxation techniques to increase comfort and confidence at an appointment, plus get to the source of any dental anxiety to help have lasting comfort around visits to the dentist. Earlier is better when using hypnotherapy to prepare for dental appointments.