Regular dental exams and cleanings are crucial for maintaining a healthy smile. Sadly, a trip to the dentist is a genuine phobia for some. In fact, 9 to 15 percent of Americans avoid the dentist because of fear or anxiety. If you’re someone who struggles with this fear, we’re here to help. We’ve compiled a list of relaxation tools to help make your next exam less frightening:
Bring a distraction
While it would be nice to focus on a crossword or puzzle while in the dentist’s chair, it isn’t exactly realistic. Bring something small, like a stress-ball or fidget spinner to play with while the dentist is working.
Eliminate the noise
For some, one the worst parts of the dentist is the sound of the tools. Drown out the noise by listening to your favorite music, podcast or even an audiobook. If you’re able to focus on your music or book, the anxiety produced by the sound of the tools may subside.
Set Yourself up for Success
Whether you have had a bad experience at the dentist, or simply don’t enjoy going, it’s important to select a dentist who listens to your fears and acknowledges your anxiety. When you’ve found the dentist who is right for you, schedule your appointment for as early in the day as possible. You will be less likely to cancel if you don’t have all day to worry about the appointment. Once your exam is over, ask to reschedule before you leave. This way you stay on track for regular exams!
Overcoming your fear of the dentist can be a challenge, but these tips might help you get off to a good start.