Dentaphobia and You: A Guide to Overcoming the Fear of the Dentist

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It is normal to fear the dentist chair. Adults and children alike have overcome this fear of the dentist, dentaphobia, because they know it’s better than the alternative. Having semi-annual checkups is a part of maintaining proper dental hygiene. But if you’re afraid to sit down with the dentist, you could be putting your dental health in jeopardy. How can you overcome this fear? The following list of tactics from Murfreesboro Family Dentistry keep you up to date on your dental cleanings by helping you cope with some of the concerns you may have. 

1. Talk About It
Sometimes the best way to overcome a fear is to talk about. Tell your dentist that you’re feeling nervous or anxious, and they’ll be sensitive to your needs. While you are in that chair, you’re the most important person in the room. The dental team can offer tips and strategies in-real-time to help you feel comfortable with your visit.

2. Come Up with Safe-Signal
If you’re familiar with safe-words, then you might be comfortable using a safe-signal. Talk with your dental team ahead of time and agree upon a signal that will let them know you need a minute. Try raising a hand, blinking hard two times, or snapping a finger. This way, when they see or hear your signal, they can give you the break you need.

3. Take Your Mind Elsewhere
Distractions can be useful when you know you have to get through something, but you don’t necessarily want to. Bring headphones and listen to your favorite music, audiobook, or podcast. If you know you tend to get jittery or fidgety, bring a stress ball or a fidget toy to keep your hands busy while the dental team does their work.

4. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a popular buzzword recently, but it really can help put your mind at ease and relax your body. You can try breathing exercises – focus on only your breathing while inhaling for three seconds, holding for three seconds, and exhaling for three seconds. This not only will take your mind off of your dental cleaning or procedure and focus it on your breath, but it will also slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure during the exercise.

Some people go to their “happy place” in times of stress or anxiety. If the dentist makes you nervous and you have a happy place, go to it. Daydreaming and reliving great experiences will help you retain those happy memories and take your mind off of what’s going on in your mouth.

5. Ask for Nitrous Oxide
There’s no shame in asking for a little nitrous oxide. The dentist has it for a reason. With only a small dose, nitrous oxide will relax your nerves and ease your mind. it will be fully out of your system by the end of your appointment so you can go on with the rest of your day without any fogginess.

At Murfreesboro Family Dentistry, we understand that not everybody loves the dentist, but let’s talk about it. Get in touch today for an appointment with our experienced and compassionate team.

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