Top tips to reduce dental anxiety

People are anxious about dental visits for a wide range of reasons. Some anticipate pain, others worry that the dentist may be rushed and neglect their concerns. Additional stressors include negative memories of past experiences and even the sterile smell of the dental practice

If unaddressed, dental anxiety can lead to oral health problems, which in turn, require more dental treatment. One of the most important factors in overcoming dental anxiety is good communication between you and your dentist. When you feel informed and in control throughout a visit, you are typically less anxious.

The team at Benfleet Dental Centre have many years’ experience treating nervous patients so will also do everything in their power to ensure that your visit is as calm and stress free as possible.

Here are their top tips to keep anxiety at bay.

1. Pick an appointment time early in the morning so you have less time to sit and dwell on it.

2. The first appointment will simply be a check-up so don’t worry that you’ll be launched into having any drilling or a needle. See this first visit as your chance to get to know the dentist.

3. Share your fears. If you are tense or anxious be sure to tell the dentist and this will help them adapt the treatment to your needs.  

4. Focus on breathing regularly and slowly during dental procedures. When people are nervous, they tend to hold their breath, which decreases oxygen levels and further increases feelings of panic. As in some meditation techniques, a focus on slow, regular breathing helps reduce stress levels.

5. Bring a friend or family member with you to your appointment. The dentist will not mind if they accompany you throughout your check-up and treatment.

6. Listen to some music. If the sound of the drill bothers you, bring along your favourite music and earphones.

7. Agree a sign with the dentist to signal that you need a break and want them to stop. It can be as simple as pointing your finger and will help you feel more in control.

8. If you think it will help, start gradually with a clean and polish then work up to more extensive treatment once you’ve built up trust and rapport with your dentist.

9.Get some good reviews. If you are looking for a dentist, ask friends and relatives for recommendations. A glowing review about a dentist from someone you trust can help reduce your anxiety. 

If you have any questions or would like more information on beating dental anxiety, call Benfleet Dental Centre on 01702 557766.