If you suffer from dental anxiety, don’t worry, you’re not alone! A fear of the dentist is common in adults and kids alike. Although we don’t think that we’re very scary, we understand that a dental appointment can be a daunting experience so we’ve come up with five tips that we hope will help you make that all important dental visit.
Create a dentist-chair playlist
Music can transport you to a different place, which is great news for people who suffer with dental anxiety! We recommend creating a playlist of your favourite chill-out songs ready for your next appointment. You can play the playlist through your headphones or on a portable speaker to take your mind off your dental treatment. It will help to distract you from the procedure by giving you something else to focus on. We don’t mind if it’s not our favourite genre, we just want you to be comfortable.
Agree on a stop signal
Communication with your dentist is crucial to feeling relaxed in the chair. If you feel confident that we’ll be sensitive to your anxiety, you’ll be far more relaxed letting us perform your treatment. If you want to take a break because your anxiety is peaking, make a signal for us to stop. We can organise what this is prior to your treatment so that as soon as we see a thumbs up or a hand tap on the arm rest, we’ll know it’s time to give you a break. This will help you to feel more in control of the situation and give you the confidence to have your treatment!
Go dentist shopping
Just like a new outfit, a pair of shoes or a new car, you should shop around for a dentist that suits you before committing to it. That means phoning up to gauge the friendliness and professionalism of our in-house team and coming to visit the clinic to see if you feel comfortable. You wouldn’t buy into anything else without trying it out, so why do it with your dentist? Feeling confident with your choice of dental practice is a sure way to reduce your dental anxiety.
Role play at home first
This one is a bit out of the box but you’ll be surprised how much it works. Getting your family member, friend or partner to play the role of a dentist will help you to prepare for the real thing. Here’s what you’ll need: a torch, a metal instrument, and your best acting skills. Get yourself leaned back in a chair or on the bed and have them examine your mouth, teeth and gums. This replication will help you to practice some coping techniques for when you’re in the chair for real. Just make sure they’re careful!
Make a dentist-duo
A ‘dentist-partner’ taking you in for your next appointment will greatly reduce your dental anxiety. Having someone there to support you will ensure you stay calm and have somebody to lean on when things become too much. Your ‘dentist-partner’ is welcome to come into the dentist room with us and hold your hand too, so you know there’s familiar and supportive with you.
Dentists more than anyone understand that anxiety that dental visits can cause. However, like other phobias and fears, we believe with the right mindset and coping tactics, and a supportive, sympathetic team around you, you’ll do just fine.
We hope these tips will help, but the only way to know for certain is to have the privilege of seeing you. We have no doubt that under our care yo will walk out of our West London surgery with a smile!