How Can I Get Over My Fear of the Dentist?

smoking oral health sterling vaIt’s not uncommon for people to have anxiety or fear about going to the dentist. Many patients worry about pain or feel uncertain about what the dentist may find if it has been a while since their last visit. Fear of the dentist is not only common, but can be managed, and Ridgetop Dental can help you overcome your anxiety. Use our helpful tips at your next appointment to help you take control over your oral health.

1. Say something

It is certainly not your dentist’s intention to scare or harm you, and letting them know you’re uncomfortable or anxious can help make your visit go smoothly. Letting your dental team know your concerns will help them treat you better to ensure a positive experience.

  • Talk to your dentist directly about your anxiety. Remind the dental staff about your anxiety when you arrive.
  • Ask questions. The unknown can be frightening, so ask your dental team to tell you what is happening and what to expect.
  • Don’t be afraid to take breaks during the exam.
  • If you feel any pain even with a local anesthetic, tell your dentist. Some patients may feel embarrassed about their pain tolerance or don’t want to interrupt a dentist during a procedure.

2. Distract yourself

There are some things you can do to help take your mind off of what is happening. Your dentist won’t be offended if you use headphones or have a fidget item during your exam or procedure.

  • Keep your hands busy by squeezing a stress ball or playing with a fidget item.
  • Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a relaxing environment or some place that makes you feel comfortable, such as a beach or next to a fireplace.
  • Wear headphones, especially if certain sounds make you nervous. You can listen to your favorite music or audiobook during your visit.

3. Use mindfulness techniques

It can sometimes help to remind yourself to release tension or feel less anxious. Many patients tense up during exams and it helps to be reminded to release the tension in your neck and jaw and take deep breaths.

  • Inhale slowly and exhale for the same count. Counting breaths makes you focus on your breathing and can help take your mind off of your immediate anxiety.
  • Do a body scan. Focus on relaxing your muscles, one body part at a time. Begin with your head and work your way down to your toes. For example, concentrate on releasing tension starting in your forehead, then your cheeks, your neck and down the rest of your body.

Overcome Dental Fear with Ridgetop Dental

Remember: Your dentist and their team are here to help you have a healthier smile.  They don’t want you to be afraid or to hurt you. Make sure to communicate your fears so they can help you begin having positive experiences at the dentist’s office.

If you still struggle with fear of the dentist, Ridgetop Dental offers sedation dentistry to make dental care less stressful and ensure a calm experience. Contact us online today to schedule your appointment or call (703) 520-7410 to discuss how we can help make you comfortable with your oral care.

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