For some people, nothing breeds anxiety quite like waiting in a dentist’s office for a checkup. It only gets worse when you climb into the chair and hear the words: “Open wide.” Even something as simple as getting your teeth cleaned can be a nerve-wracking experience.
So how do you tackle dental fear and keep your cool in front of your dentist? Here are a few strategies you can use to keep your heart from racing and set your mind at ease:
Deep Breathing: When a person feels scared, their breathing can become erratic or stop. It is a natural response from the human body. Reduced oxygen levels can pose a danger to your body, however, and can only increase the stress and fear you’re feeling. Remember to take a few slow, deep breaths before entering the dentist’s office and after you sit in the dental chair. It will calm your nerves and help you better cope with the sights, sounds and smells around you.
Close Your Eyes: Your eyes can be your worst enemy during a visit to the dentist. Seeing a large needle or a pick isn’t for the faint of heart. It really isn’t as bad as you think even when those instruments are right in front of your face. If what you see elicits fear, simply close your eyes and tune out these visual cues for stress. Go to your happy place by thinking about walking along a quiet beach or in a secluded forest. This will help you stay calm and realize you can handle whatever procedure is up next.
Block Out Sounds: Sometimes, hearing the sounds from a drill or a suction tube is what sets a person into panic mode. If this describes your dental care experience, blocking out the sounds may be your best option. Bring along a pair of headphones, plug them into your iPod and listen to soothing music. These tunes will help distract you from what is going on in the dental chair, so you can feel in control and conquer your fears.
Visiting the dentist never matches the horror we create through internal fears. People can get worked up over a dental visit without realizing they are in good hands. Take time to get calm before your next visit. You will soon realize going to the dentist is no sweat.