If you’re a little uneasy about going into the dentist, you’re in good company. A quarter of Americans feel the same way!
We understand that having to sit still, open wide, and listen to all the noises of having your teeth cleaned can be a bit stressful at best and downright terrifying at worst.
We want you to have the best experience possible — read on for some simple ways to relax during your next dental visit.
Remember that your dentists and hygienists have seen it all
Really, we have. There’s nothing about your teeth that could surprise us or make us uncomfortable! We’re fully prepared for every possible scenario, and we’ve been carefully trained to deal with any problems that arise.
Helping you take care of your teeth isn’t just what we do for a living — it’s our passion. No matter how long it’s been since you were last at the dentist or how self-conscious you are about your smile, you don’t need to be nervous about what we’ll think.
At the end of the day, we’re just happy that you’re coming in to see us and keep your teeth in top shape.
Be honest about your nerves
Sometimes talking about your fear can make it seem less scary.
Don’t hesitate to let your hygienist know that you’re a little nervous about having your teeth cleaned — we’re happy to take any extra accommodations you need to make sure you’re comfortable throughout your appointment.
Listen to music
Music can be tremendously relaxing. Multiple studies have shown that listening to music doesn’t only improve anxiety — it can also reduce the physical experience of pain and discomfort. You’re welcome to bring your own favorite tunes along to listen to during your appointment!
If you’re feeling nervous about your dental exam, it can be particularly helpful to carefully examine each song. Pay attention to the notes, melodies, lyrics, and background instruments. In no time, you’ll become absorbed in the task — and your appointment will be over.
Focus on your breathing
We usually don’t think too much about our breathing. Our bodies do a great job of taking care of it without us paying attention — but when we’re anxious, we can tense up and negatively affect our natural rhythms.
Deep breathing is one of the best ways to relax. It sends a message to your brain that you’re moving slowly and it’s okay to calm down! One technique that is especially helpful is the “4-7-8” method.
Here’s how it works:
- Breathe in through your nose for four seconds
- Hold your breath for seven seconds
- Breathe out through your mouth for eight seconds
This method is twofold. First, it reaps the physical, biological benefits of taking deep breaths. Second, it forces you to count and focus on the task at hand — making it harder for you to fixate on the things that are stressing you out. It’s one of our favorite stress relief strategies both in the dentist’s chair and out.
The best part is you can use the 4-7-8 method for any stressor in your life, not just the dentist!
Let your dentist or hygienist know if you’re uncomfortable
At Madison Family Dental, we put our patients’ comfort first — always. If at any time during your appointment you’re feeling uncomfortable or unsure about what’s going on, don’t hesitate to say so! We’ll stop what we’re doing and make sure you feel okay again before we move forward.
Your dental care is a team effort. We’re here to work with you, every step of the way. Schedule your next dentist appointment today and see just how easy the experience can be.