July 6, 2022

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Regular dentist visits are an important part of maintaining your oral health. But for some people, anxiety or fear can prevent them from visiting the dentist. This can manifest itself in many ways, such as heart palpitations, extreme sweating, feeling faint, crying, panic attacks, and even aggressive behaviour.

Why does this happen?

There can be various reasons, such as fear of pain, previous traumatic dental experiences, or general anxiety issues. But it is important to overcome this anxiety; otherwise, you might miss dental appointments, and your oral health could suffer.

Here are five ways you can overcome your fear of the dentist.

1. Deep breathing

If you are only suffering from mild anxiety about your visit to the dentist, deep breathing exercises could help you relax beforehand. While sitting in the waiting room, close your eyes, take a deep breath through your nose, hold it for a few seconds, and then slowly exhale. Repeat this several times, and you should be more relaxed when you get into the dentist’s chair.

2. Muscle relaxation

You can do this in the waiting room and while sitting in the dentist’s chair. First, close your eyes, tense all your body’s muscles for a second or two, and then let them completely relax. Then gently focus on different parts of your body in sequence, releasing any tension you find there. Not only will this make you more relaxed, but it will also distract you from the dental work that’s taking place while you are sitting in the chair.

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3. Nitrous oxide

If your main anxiety is about pain, nitrous oxide could be a good option for you. Also known as “laughing gas”, it is an analgesic or painkiller. All you do is inhale a pleasant smelling or odourless gas via a rubber mask. It typically has no side effects, and you remain conscious the whole time. You can eat food twelve hours afterwards, and you might even be able to drive home after your appointment.

4. Oral sedation

Also known as “conscious sedation”, this could be a good option if you are anxious about more than just the pain. You take a pill one hour before your appointment, and it will make you feel sleepy and relaxed. You will be conscious but groggy and have only vague memories of the procedure. You will not be able to drive home afterwards, so you will need someone else to take you to and from your appointment.

5. IV sedation

Also known as “general anaesthesia” or being “put to sleep”, IV sedation works quickly. The qualified sedation dentist will give you an injection, after which you will soon fall asleep. You will have no memory of the procedure and will not be able to drive afterwards. However, it is ideal for lengthy procedures or having multiple procedures done simultaneously.

So there you go. Those are five ways of making your visit to the dentist a calmer and less painful experience. You do not need to suffer from poor oral health due to a fear of the dentist’s drill.

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