Dentist Cale Slack DDS recently discussed several effective methods for reducing dental anxiety.
Roughly 80 percent of Americans fear going to the dentist. This unique fear can lead to individuals avoiding dental treatment, and Dr. Cale Slack explained this can be detrimental to overall physical and mental health.
Canceling or delaying dentist appointments can lead to worsening anxiety, increased dental pain, more expensive procedures, and numerous health problems. Dr. Slack recently discussed effective ways to reduce dental anxiety and maintain good oral health.
Maintain Oral Health at Home
One of the best ways to reduce dental anxiety is to brush at least twice a day and floss daily. Keeping up with at-home dental care can reduce the number of visits you make to the dentist, especially for complex treatments.
Ask the Dentist Questions
Dr. Cale Slack explained dentists are happy to answer as many questions as their clients have about oral health and dental procedures. Many times, a dental procedure seems scarier than it really is because patients only know what they’ve seen on TV or heard from friends.
The drills and cleaning devices used at the dentist can be intimidating. Many people don’t know they can bring their headphones to the dentist and listen to audiobooks, music, or podcasts throughout the visit.
Invite a Loved One
Before your appointment, ask your dentist if a family member or friend can be in the room with you during your dental procedure. This person can help you feel more at ease and provide distracting conversation throughout your dental exam.
Try Meditation and Focused Breathing
Dr. Cale Slack explained that focused breathing exercises and meditation are proven to lower heart rates and reduce anxiety. The focus, muscle relaxation, and awareness needed to meditate can take your attention into the practice and away from the dental procedure.
Dr. Slack suggested practicing meditation and focused breathing before and during the appointment.
Dentists understand that dental anxiety is a significant problem for many patients. Your dentists may be open to prescribing short-term antianxiety medication for your visit. Generally, the patient must take the medication one hour before the appointment.
Dr. Cale Slack Explains How to Identify Dental Anxiety
Many people know they don’t enjoy dental visits but aren’t aware that they have dental anxiety, also known as odontophobia.
Dr. Slack explained the following symptoms as signs of this form of anxiety:
- extreme sweating
- low blood pressure
- feeling faint
- panic attacks
- heart palpitations
- increased heart rate
- aggressive behavior
Dentists suggest using the proven-effective methods above to reduce dental anxiety. Visiting the dentist regularly, and doing so without fear, will allow you to enjoy superior oral and overall health.There is no one size fits all approach to solving dental anxiety. If you have kids who are anxious about going to the dentist, please see the resource below for some tips.
Provided by Cosmedent – dental continuing education