Dental fears and phobias are not uncommon, even among adult patients. For some people, just the sound of dental tools makes their skin crawl, and they’d rather do anything else than visit their family dentist. So, why is this? In many cases, dental fears and phobias develop during childhood due to an unpleasant experience with cavity fillings, tooth extractions, and even braces. Even patients who have never had any dental work aside from professional teeth cleanings can develop anxiety at the dentist’s office, making their experience less pleasant.
At Constitution Dental, our goal is to make your dental appointment as easy and stress-free as possible. We cater to working professionals in the heart of Downtown Ottawa, with a conveniently located dental clinic you can slip right into for a speedy dental cleaning during your lunch break. Our dentists understand how your fear of the dentist can throw off your entire day at work, which is why we work to accommodate your needs. Here are a few tips to help you overcome your fear of the dentist and ensure that your next dental exam is a breeze:
Practice Relaxation Techniques
A quick way to calm your nerves in the dentist’s chair is to do some relaxation techniques. Try to control your breathing by taking long, slow breaths through your nose. With your eyes closed, let the air fill your belly and hold it for a few seconds. Exhale slowly through your mouth, releasing any tension in your face. Unclench your jaw, stop fidgeting with your hands, and focus all your attention on your breath. Then, when the dentist is cleaning your teeth, take deep breaths in and out through your nose.
Another relaxation technique is to slowly release all the tension in your body, beginning with your face. Relax your forehead, unclench your jaw, and let your arms lay heavy on your stomach or the dentist’s chair. Breathe into your lower stomach rather than your chest, and let your feet fall to the sides. This will help your body shift from its “fight or flight” response to its “rest and digest” state, which will make you feel calm, relaxed, and even a bit sleepy.
If you are having a hard time focusing on your breath, try distracting yourself with thoughts unrelated to the dentist. Think about your upcoming weekend plans or decide on something to cook for dinner when you get home from work. Make a mental list of all the things you want to accomplish today. Think about something funny your friend said or recite song lyrics in your head. Keep your eyes closed and let your mind drift away from any thoughts about the dentist, and before you know it, your appointment will be over.
Try Dental Sedation
At Constitution Dental, we offer a range of dental sedation techniques to help ease your nerves in the dentist’s chair. Depending on the severity of your anxiety, we may recommend IV sedation, oral sedation, or nitrous oxide. IV and oral sedation are reserved for patients with severe dental anxiety and/or a low pain threshold (these patients will need to be driven home from their appointment), while nitrous oxide is a lighter sedative that provides temporary aid in relaxation. If you are interested in trying anesthesia at your next dental exam, let your dentist know so they can accommodate you.
Communicate With Your Dentist
We can’t stress this enough: communication with your dentist is key. Remember, dental fears and phobias are very common, and we aren’t strangers to the concept. Our dentists treat anxious patients all the time, and we are always looking for ways to make your dental appointment more enjoyable. When you arrive at our dental office, don’t be afraid to let your dentist or dental hygienist know how you’re feeling that day.
For example, if you are nervous about your dentist using local anesthesia for a cavity filling, allow us to explain what you can expect (a little pinch is a lot less painful than a tooth filling with no anesthesia). If you don’t like the sound of the dental tools, we’ll recommend that you listen to some music or your favorite podcast. Not a fan of dental X-rays? We’ll help you breathe through it so you don’t have a gag reflex. We’re here to help you, not make your anxiety even worse.
Leave Bad Experiences In The Past
A lot of your anxiety has to do with how you enter the dental clinic for your appointment. If you arrive with negative thoughts in your head, you are more likely to feel nervous or afraid when it’s time for your teeth cleaning, your root canal, or your wisdom teeth removal. Though it’s easier said than done, try to leave any past experiences at the door and have an open mind about your appointment. It’s all about your mindset.
Schedule Your Next Dental Exam At Constitution Dental
We hope that these tips will help ease your anxiety at your next dental appointment, and that you will choose Constitution Dental as your preferred dental clinic in Downtown Ottawa. Request an appointment today!