Conquering Dental Anxiety: Strategies for a Fear-Free Dental Experience

Conquering Dental Anxiety: Strategies for a Fear-Free Dental Experience

Many individuals find visiting a dentist to be a mildly unpleasant experience, but they can get through their dental visit without anxiety. However, some people genuinely fear going to the periodontist or dentist, which can lead to delaying or avoiding dental care. Unfortunately, the result is often a spiral of health problems, dental pain, increased anxiety, and costly dental work. 

What Is Dental Anxiety, and Why Do People Experience It? 

Several different things can cause a patient to experience dental anxiety. Some people had past dental trauma, while other people may just need to understand better the process of the procedure they need. Fortunately, modern dental technology makes it easier than ever for you to receive dental treatments with less anxiety. 

While most people don’t eagerly anticipate dental visits, having extreme anxiety is something experienced by many. Extreme cases of fearing dental treatment are sometimes called odontophobia, a type of phobia that is included in the DSM IV or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Less severe cases of dental fear are more manageable with the right strategies. 

Communication is Key

We tend to fear what we don’t understand. That’s just human nature. By communicating with your dental care team, you can better understand what to expect. In many cases, this will ease your dental anxiety. Trained technicians can go over your entire procedure from start to finish so that you won’t experience any surprises. 

Try Meditation 

Meditation is famously relaxing, and getting yourself into a better headspace may be just what you need to conquer dental anxiety. You can do a simple meditation discreetly in the waiting room and continue when you’re in the dental chair. 

Practice Breathing Exercises

When you employ deep breathing exercises, you can relax your mind to feel calmer and more at ease. Deep breathing promotes relaxation and reduces stress. To try deep breathing:

  1. Close your eyes and inhale slowly through your nose.
  2. Exhale slowly through your mouth.
  3. Repeat as needed. 

Use Guided Imagery

One technique for overcoming dental anxiety is guided imagery. With guided imagery, you visualize thoughts that make you feel good. For example, you may imagine sitting by a sunny window or relaxing on the beach. You can also focus on happy memories, invoking nostalgia to get you to your happy place. 

Distract Yourself

Distraction is sometimes a good thing. It can be an excellent tool for working through dental anxiety when used efficiently. Having a friend with you can be a welcome distraction. You can also listen to music, enjoy your favorite podcast, or even watch a TV show during your procedure. 

Consider Hypnotism 

Hypnotism has helped people conquer any number of things, and self-hypnotism can help you overcome dental anxiety, too. Look for free hypnotism videos or listen to a pre-recorded session. If you need more comprehensive hypnotism, consider consulting with a hypnotherapist. 

Ask About Nitrous Oxide Gas

You may have heard of “laughing gas,” but nitrous oxide doesn’t make you laugh. Instead, it puts you into a calm, relaxed state. This state is similar to twilight sleep, and you’ll remember everything that happened during your procedure. During the procedure, you’re comfortable and fully awake. Nitrous oxide is breathed through the nose, and as soon as the team removes the breathing apparatus, you will quickly become fully alert. 

Oral Sedation

If your periodontist offers oral sedation, you’ll take medication before your appointment. When you use oral sedation, you need to have someone with you who can drive you home. 

IV Sedation

If you’re getting implants, your periodontist will use IV sedation. Under IV sedation, you maintain consciousness, but you’re less aware of what your periodontist is doing during your procedure. This type of sedation works quickly; you’ll feel no pain when your periodontist works in your mouth. 

Anxiety-Free Dentistry with Vero Implants & Periodontics

Are you ready to experience an anxiety-free dental experience? Contact Vero Implants & Periodontics in Vero Beach, Florida, to schedule your appointment. Our skilled Vero Beach dental team can help you overcome your dental anxiety and get the care you need. Contact us via our website or at (772) 569-9700.