How to Cope with Dental Anxiety

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If dental anxiety is making it harder to stick to your scheduled check-ups and appointments, you are not alone. A huge number of people harbour anxieties and fears relating to dentists. This often goes back to childhood, or it could be rooted in a negative experience at some point during the formative years. In this guide, we take a look at how to deal with dental anxiety so that you can continue to keep your teeth and gums in shape, without losing peace of mind.

Dealing With Dental Anxiety

The first thing to note is that today’s dental appointments are nowhere near as terrifying as the dental visits of yesteryear. Thanks to huge advancements in pain-free sedation and highly evolved tools and techniques, it is very unusual to feel pain even during a seemingly traumatic procedure such as root canal or tooth extraction. With that said, most anxiety develops very early in life and can be very difficult to shake off, even if you logically know that you will not be in any danger.

There are a few ways that you can make your dentist visit as stress-free as possible. Some of the most effective ways of dealing with dental anxiety include the following:

Distract yourself with calming music or podcasts.

Bring your iPod, or load up some relaxing music onto your phone. You can then use earphones to create your very own soothing bubble, with relaxing music that helps you take your mind off any dental procedures you have planned. You could also distract yourself with an inspiring, amusing or fun podcast that allows you to tune out. Many dentists play soft music in their practice rooms, with the intention of putting patients’ minds at ease. Most good dentists will not mind if you prefer to have your own music. A relaxed patient is far easier to treat than a tense patient, after all.

Ask your dentist to explain everything in advance.

It can be very useful to know exactly what your dentist plans to do throughout the appointment. Having each procedure explained takes away a lot of the fear, making it easier to know what to expect without letting your imagination fill in any gaps. Just about any good dentist will explain everything in detail without being asked, but if you are not sure what to expect, don’t be shy to ask for more information. Also Nitrous gas could be used for patients with anxiety to calm them while the dental procedures.

Try some relaxation exercises at home and during your visit.

Another thing that can help is to practice relaxation techniques before you leave home, while you are in the waiting room, and while you are in the chair. Deep breathing is an excellent way to force your brain to relax. You could try circular breathing – inhaling, holding, and exhaling breaths in equal counts. You could also try the calming 4-7-8 breath – inhaling for four counts, holding for seven counts, and exhaling for 8 counts. Visualisation techniques are also useful – try imagining yourself in a place where you always feel calm, such as the beach, at home or in your happy place. Combined with breathing techniques, these exercises will help you feel relaxed and ready for your dentist appointment. This will help patients who suffer from some serious anxiety problems.

Look for a dentist that makes you feel at ease.

Finally, it is worth nothing that the right dentist can make all the difference. When you genuinely like your dentist and feel comfortable in their presence, you will feel far more relaxed. Finding a friendly, warm dentist in Durban or your hometown is easier when you have a practice that puts focus on making patients feel welcome.

You may visit Gateway Dental, for a comfortable dental experience. To find out more about how our Durban dental practice prevents dental anxiety, you may call us or email and our staff will happily assist you.


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