For many people, visiting the dentist can cause anything from mild anxiety to extreme fear. It could be the loud tools, the fear of pain, or just a general discomfort with tools being placed in our mouths.
It’s natural to feel less than excited about the experience. But when fear of the dentist keeps you from coming in for regular appointments, it can be bad for your health.
As Fort Worth dentists, we’ve seen every type of dental anxiety or phobia. That’s why we try our best every day to make sure each one of our patients is taken care of in whatever way makes them most comfortable. If you’re feeling anxious about an upcoming dental appointment, please let us know. And, try out some of our tips for combatting dental anxiety below.
Practice Mindfulness and Relaxing Breathing Techniques
“Mindfulness” is easier than it sounds. It’s simply the practice of being present and aware of your current state and situation. It starts in your brain and when practiced correctly, can help you relax throughout your body. Try this exercise while you’re in the dental chair:
- Slow your breathing down to a natural, consistent rhythm.
- Focus on the sensation of your body against the chair. Think about each part of your body contacting the surface of the chair.
- Find places of tension in your arms, shoulder, neck or legs and release them.
- Don’t focus on your thoughts. Let each one pass through your mind without dwelling on them.
Calm breathing reduces muscle tension and can reduce pain. Practicing these mindfulness and breathing techniques will help you to relax during your visit. The time will pass quicker, and you will be able to reduce your anxiety.
Here’s another breathing exercise called Square Breathing:
- Imagine a big square in the air right in front of you
- Focus on one corner of the square
- Then, breathe in and count to three as you trace a line along one edge of the square to the next corner
- Pause for a bit, then exhale as you trace the edge to the next corner
- Repeat this over and over, tracing the square as your go
- You should feel relaxed and calm as you focus on your breathing
There are plenty more breathing techniques out there to try. Even if you’ve never done any mindfulness or breathing exercises, give it a try! What’s the worst that could happen?
Look for a Fort Worth Dentist that Caters to Nervous Patients
When seeking out a Fort Worth dentist, look for one that specifically acknowledges and caters dental anxiety and comforting services for patients. A local dental practice can be best for this. They take time to get to know you, unlike many larger regional or national chain practices that may serve many patients and regularly rotate staff.
Smile Fort Worth is dedicated to caring for each of our patients and providing them with premium, comfortable care. We know not everyone loves coming to the dentist so we focus on making an inviting, calm atmosphere. We serve family members of all ages, including children and our “Happy Visits” for toddlers.
When you arrive, feel free to let your dentist know about your trepidations. They will be happy to accommodate you, perhaps asking more often how you are doing or ensuring you know what is happening during your visit. There is nothing to be embarrassed about by letting your dentist know your concerns!
Ask Questions, Including About Sedation Options
Be inquisitive about your dental procedure. Ask about the steps of the procedure, if you will feel any pain or discomfort, and anything else that is on your mind. Your dentist will be happy to share all of the information with you to make you feel comfortable.
If you’re interested, you can also ask about sedation options. Sedation dentistry can drastically calm your nerves and reduce fidgeting in the chair which can actually make our job easier.
At Smile Fort Worth, we offer nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) and other sedation options when the situation allows it. It is our job to make you feel comfortable while you’re visiting us. Don’t hesitate to ask if you are a good candidate for sedation dentistry.
Smile Fort Worth: Our Fort Worth Dentists Take Your Comfort Seriously
At Smile Fort Worth, we are a local dental practice staffed by compassionate humans. We want to get to know you, learn about your smile concerns, and figure out how we can reduce your anxieties in the dental chair.
If you’ve put off a dental appointment because of fear, it’s time to try a new approach. Visit a local practice that puts patient comfort first. Schedule an appointment with Smile Fort Worth today!