Dental phobia or odontophobia is the anxiety many people have when visiting the dentist or orthodontist. Approximately 35 million Americans struggle with this phobia which ultimately discourages them to visit the dentist regularly (Chiaramonte). Are you one of the many who fear the dentist, if so, you aren’t alone and here are a few tips to help you ease into fearless dental check-ups.
- Communication. Keep your doctor in the loop. Let him or her know that you have dental anxiety and let them explain to you exactly what will be taking place during the appointment to help ease your mind.
- Plan ahead. Try to schedule morning appointments. That way you will have less time to dread it throughout the day.
- Meditation. Focus on your breathing leading up to the appointment. Not enough oxygen can lead to increased stress which makes you anxious. Take the time and be mindful of the air entering and exiting your lungs; this will relax your muscles and calm your brain.
- Visualization. In addition to mindful breathing, visualization can turn your fears into something positive. Try picturing yourself visiting your dentist in Denver and imagine seeing yourself calm, peaceful, and relaxed. Do this as many times over so that you feel confident walking out the door. Hint: Try picturing yourself leaving the appointment with the feeling of accomplishment!
- Music. Prepare yourself by listening to music leading up or even during the dental appointment. Be sure to choose music that leaves you feeling stress-free and relaxed. Check out the playlist I discovered to calm those nerves and keep your toes tapping.
- The Most Beautiful Songs in the World: https://open.spotify.com/user/spotify_uk_/playlist/6y3CuT7MDDoPNXaD69frug
- Friends. Friends are here for us through thick and thin, why should that exclude the dreaded dentist? Bring a pal to hold your hand. Hint: bring your funniest friend to cut the tension, maybe they will make another person in the waiting room giggle too!
Don’t let dental phobia hinder your overall health. Many dentists are aware of this kind of anxiety and a great one will never let you live in fear of your oral health, hem hem Dr. Trommeter. Keep in mind the importance of regular dental visits and start incorporating these calming methods to ensure you are in the best state of mind to visit your doc.