If you’re suffering from fear of dentists or dental anxiety, you are not alone. In fact, surveys estimate that around 13 to 24 percent of people around the world are afraid of dental visits. While it is not completely disabling, some people with this fear choose to avoid regular oral health check-ups altogether until a problem (which could have been prevented) comes up.
What causes dental anxiety
Before we dive into the ways you could deal with your dental anxiety, let’s discuss the possible root of it first. Knowing the cause of your dental anxiety will help you understand yourself and eventually discuss your fear with your dentist, so he or she would know how to assist you better.
One of the common causes of dental anxiety is the fear of pain and side effects that a dental treatment may bring. This may be coming from a trauma from previous or early childhood dental treatment, or from stories of other people.
Another thing that people fear about having to go to the dentist is the loss of personal space. Some people suffer from the uncomfortable feeling brought by the extreme physical closeness with the dentist. Others also feel shy about the possible bad breath and the appearance and status of their teeth and gums.
Meanwhile, some people feel uncomfortable when visiting a dentist because of the lack of control they might feel during a procedure. All dental check-ups involve sitting on a dental chair with your mouth wide open while the dentist inspects it. Loss of control and helplessness might stem from not knowing and seeing what’s going on in their mouth.
How to cope with dental anxiety
1) Discuss your fears with your dentist
Just like other fears, dental anxiety may be reduced by letting it off your chest and talking it out. Let your dentist know about your fear and what you fear the most about the procedure. Is it the pain or loss of personal space and control? You might be surprised at how your dentists and her staff may be able to address whatever you’re anxious about.
Then don’t be afraid to ask questions to your dentist and get to know them. This way, you’ll be able to build a relationship so you could trust him or her more.
2) Relax yourself before a check-up
Take some steps to calm your mind before a dental visit. As much as possible, avoid drinking caffeine on the day of your check-up as it might help heighten your anxiety. Also, try meditating or listening to relaxing music.
3) Distract yourself
The more you focus on the dental procedure, the more you’ll feel the anxiety. Try distracting your thoughts through listening to music with your headphones or holding a stress ball or any small object. If you don’t have both, you may also try thinking about other things or visualising serene places such as the beach, parks and more.
4) Use mindfulness techniques
Similar to other anxiety-inducing situations, try doing deep breathing exercises to release the tension from your body. Inhale and exhale slowly and pay attention to your breath. You may practice this before the appointment and during breaks. Your dentist may also instruct you to breathe well during the dental procedure.
Bonus: Protect yourself from any oral health problems
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could avoid unpleasant news at the dentist by proactively caring for your teeth?
Level down your dental anxiety by keeping your teeth extra healthy. By improving home care, you can avoid unpleasant news at the dentist's.
It all starts with the basics: dental hygiene. Remember to brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Use a brush that has soft bristles so it won't irritate your gum. And, remember to replace your brush every three months or earlier to keep it clean.
In addition to brushing your teeth, floss daily and wash with mouthwash to clean areas that are not reachable by your brush. To thoroughly remove plaque, wrap your floss around both sides of each tooth and do a push-pull motion.
Use Lumoral twice a week
Avoid painful dental disease by improving dental home care. Lumoral eliminates bacteria in dental plaque. Surprise your dentist! Improve your oral hygiene with Lumoral. Make your dental visits more enjoyable by keeping extra care of dental hygiene.
Lumoral is endorsed and trusted by doctors. Its light-activated method prevents gingivitis, periodontitis and tooth decay and slows down plaque formation.
Lumoral is a safe, proven and easy to use method for improved oral health. Use Lumoral twice a week before brushing your teeth for improved dental hygiene and healthy gums.