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You’re not alone: 36 percent of the population has dental anxiety, or fear of the dentist, with an additional 12 percent who have extreme dental fear. This anxiety can have an impact on your oral health, as many people who fear the dentist choose not to go. This is called dental avoidance, and it can lead to poor oral health, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Many people, kids and adults included, can get anxious before a dental visit. But while common, this should not prevent you from making and keeping your twice-yearly cleanings and getting the necessary oral care you need to maintain good health.
There are some things you can do to calm your fears before a visit to the dentist.
Be transparent about your fears and discuss them with your dentist and hygienist. They will do anything they can to calm you down, including employing some simple relaxation techniques and full explanations of each step of the process. Being informed will help you quell any anxiety.
Don’t schedule an appointment for a day you know is busy for you. Instead, schedule it for a day and time when you aren’t busy and don’t feel rushed, which gives your body plenty of time to prepare and relax.
Prior to your appointment, don’t eat foods with lots of refined sugar or caffeine, as they can make you more nervous and jittery. Go for foods and beverages with a calming effect, like caffeine-free green tea.
Something as simple as being mindful about the way we breathe can make all the difference in stressful situations. Practice breathing techniques so you can remain calm before, during, and after your visit.
You may be nervous about going to the dentist and decide to cancel a few appointments, but this can actually be counter-productive. When you do decide to go back to the dentist, you may need even more work to fix the neglect that has set in. Stick with regular six-month appointments, and your oral health will thank you.
Many dentists provide conscious sedation like nitrous oxide if a patient is feeling upset during a visit.
Dental anxiety is not something to feel embarrassed about. Be open with your dental team: they are there to offer solutions to help you can feel more comfortable.
Here at Studio City Dental Center, patient education is a big part of our practice philosophy, which is why we do so much to make you feel comfortable. Let us answer your questions and concerns so you can have the best dental visit possible. To schedule your next appointment in a stress-free environment, contact us today at 818-762-2977.