You like your family dentist, you really do. You just dread going to see them. Never fear, you are not alone.
Statistics vary, but between 9 to 20 percent of the population suffer from dental anxiety. Some people have such severe anxiety that they seek dental care only in emergencies. If you struggle with dental anxiety, these suggestions can help you prepare for your family dentist visit.
Five ways to prepare for a family dentist visit
Fight the fear factor
Dental anxiety is a legitimate concern for patients and practitioners. People who suffer from dental anxiety tend to have horrible dental hygiene, which affects overall health. Previous bad dental experiences and a sense of loss of control tend to drive this anxiety.
The first step to dealing with dental anxiety is to acknowledge its presence. Once you identify it, you can defend against it. Most dentists suggest trying focused breathing and muscle relaxation techniques. Another option is using essential oils that have a calming effect.
As you prepare mentally for this visit, reflect on the previous one. What did your dentist discuss with you? How were you feeling after having your teeth cleaned, knowing you had done something good for yourself? Intentionally remind yourself of that good feeling when the anxious feelings begin.
Changing dentists? Have records from your previous dentist transferred to the new office before your appointment.
Avoid insurance problems at the office by communicating with your dental insurance provider in advance of your appointment. Be sure to have your dental insurance card with you.
Do not cram for the appointment
Has your enthusiasm for brushing and flossing waned? Forget about making up for missed brushing and flossing by ramping it up now. You will not fool your dentist, and overzealous brushing and flossing can quickly damage delicate gum tissue.
About a week before your appointment, call the office. Remind them of your struggle with anxiety, and let them know what you’re doing to help yourself. Ask about bringing headphones so you can listen to music on your phone or even bringing along a friend who can sit with you.
Any significant changes in your health or your dental insurance can be reported at this time too.
Continue to use the relaxation techniques that work best for you. Try to keep the workday before the appointment as stress-free as possible. The night before your appointment, get as much sleep as you can and make sure you keep drinking plenty of water.
In the waiting area, practice your relaxation breathing and focus on controlling your thoughts. Remember, you are in control, and you are doing something good to take care of yourself. This counts as a win!
Millions of people suffer from dental anxiety when facing an upcoming appointment. Do not let your anxiety and fear keep you from doing what is best for your health. Fight the fear, be prepared, do not cram, call ahead and most of all, make yourself relax. You got this!
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