You’ve got to make regular trips to the dentist, or risk losing your teeth to cavities and gum disease. If dental anxiety keeps you from having your teeth cleaned twice a year, it’s time to enlist the help of friendly Park Slope dental staff. With their support, and the tips below, you can get back on an oral health care regimen.
Regain Control, As Best You Can
Many patients fear the lack of control once the hygienist starts poking around in their mouth. The first way to regain a sense of mastery over the situation is to talk with both the dentist and hygienist about your fears before the procedure begins. Consider establishing a signal that you can make with your hand when you want the activity to stop.
While you cannot do your own dental cleaning, there are ways to feel more in control of the situation. Ask if you can choose the flavor used during tooth polishing. You also might like to listen to your choice of music through headphones.
Before any procedures begin, ask questions and make sure you know what to expect. Hygienists and dentists perform thousands of procedures over the course of a year. As things become routine, professionals can forget what it’s like to be in the patient’s seat. Gently remind the doctor that this process is new to you.
Practice Self-Soothing Strategies
Nearly everyone benefits from practicing calming techniques. That way, when anxiety-provoking situations arise, you can quickly activate a relaxation response. You don’t want to wait until you’re in the dental chair to take your first stab at meditation.
Some patients find it helpful to try visualizing nature scenes during procedures. Experiment for a few nights, before you go to sleep, to find those imagines that put a brake on your anxious thoughts.
Mediation practice changes your brain, making it less reactive to fear-inducing stimuli. You learn to observe feelings and situations without immediately reacting.
By taking control over the appointment and using relaxation strategies, you can get through your next dental visit.