For some people, just thinking about sitting in the dentist’s chair makes them break out in a cold sweat. If that sounds like you, you’re not alone.  People have all sorts of reasons they fear the dentist. Maybe you dread being in pain or maybe it’s been awhile since you saw a dentist and you’re unsure what the dentist will find. 

Waiting to have a dental examination will only make dental issues worse and cost you more time, money and discomfort. Having routine exams from your dentist can actually help the entire process feel much easier for you on many levels.

The dentists at Davis Family Dental Care in Bedford, TX want to give you some tips to help you conquer your fear of the dentist. Use these helpful hints at your next appointment to help alleviate anxiety, allowing you to have a healthy and strong smile. 

1. Speak up 

Fears can feel more manageable when you speak them aloud, making others aware of your feelings and finding that they may even share them can be very comforting. If you’re feeling anxious, you should make your dental team aware of your worries. Your dentist and their team will be better able to treat you if they are aware of your needs. 

  • Discuss your anxiety with your dentist. When you schedule your appointment, alert the receptionist that dental care makes you nervous and remind the dental assistance about your anxiety when you arrive. It can be helpful to share with your dental office any bad experiences you may have had in the past, and ask for suggestions on how to cope if you start to feel that way again. 
  • Don’t hesitate to ask questions. The unknown is usually more frightening than a routine dental procedure, so asking your dental team to explain to you know what is going to happen in your treatment can help alleviate that fear.
  • Agree on a signal that will alert your dentist that you need to take a break during a procedure, such as raising your hand. 
  • If you experience any pain even with a local anesthetic, let your dentist know immediately. Although, some people may feel embarrassed about their pain tolerance or don’t want to interrupt a dentist during a procedure, the last thing your dentist wants is to cause you pain.  

2. Distract yourself 

It might seem impossible to take your mind off the procedure you’re having when you’re anxious, but there are some things you can do that that will help you distract yourself. 

  • Wear headphones. If the sound of the drill rattles your nerves, bring headphones along so you can listen to your favorite music or audiobook.  
  • Keep your hands occupied by squeezing a stress ball or playing with a small handheld object, such as a fidget spinner. 
  • Visualize yourself relaxing at the beach or another “happy place” using your imagination. 

3. Use mindfulness techniques 

Relaxation is a state of mind. Sometimes it can take some work to “get there”. Try these deep breathing exercises to relieve anxiety and tension. 

  • Count your breaths. Inhale slowly and then exhale for the same count. Do this at least five times while you’re waiting for your appointment, or during breaks from treatment while you’re still in the dentist’s chair. 
  • Do a body scan. Focus on relaxing your muscles, one body part at a time. Begin with your head and work your way down to your toes. For example, concentrate on releasing tension starting in your forehead, then your cheeks, your neck and down the rest of your body. 

Remember: Your dentist and their team don’t want you to be afraid or to hurt you. Their jobs are to help you have a healthier smile and they can’t do that if you’re too afraid to come in.  Be sure to communicate your fears openly to your dental provider so they can help you start having positive experiences at the dentist’s office.

If you’re in the Bedford, TX area and are looking for dental care from a team of compassionate and skilled dental professionals, contact Davis Family Dental Care at 817.382.8869 or schedule an appointment online today.