Are You a “Dental Chicken”? If the phrase “going to the dentist” makes your palms sweat a little (or a lot), you’re not alone. Ten to twenty percent of Americans experience anxiety or fear when it comes to a visit to the dentist. The sights and sounds of a dental office can send some people’s heart a-flutter, and not in the fun, romantic way!
Perhaps you’ve had a negative dental experience in the past that caused discomfort or pain. Maybe the thought of being stretched out in a chair while someone “works” inside your mouth makes you feel out of control. You may feel really self-conscious about the condition of your teeth, and are afraid you’ll be judged by your dentist.
If any of this sounds familiar, you might be avoiding visiting your dentist as regularly as you need to for optimal dental health. Since dental health is a big component of over-all health and well-being, here are some things that you can do to feel more confident and relaxed at your dental appointments:
• Invite a family member or friend who isn’t a “dental chicken” to come along for your visit. Just knowing they’re in the waiting area can boost your relaxation and comfort levels while you’re in for your appointment.
• Be honest with your dentist and dental hygienist about any worries or fears you have about any procedure. Chances are, they’ll be willing to listen and work with you to help you feel more comfortable and relaxed.
• If dental chair sights and sounds make you anxious, ear buds or noise-cancelling headphones can help distract from any equipment noise and procedure sounds that bother you. Close your eyes, zone out, and ask your dentist or hygienist to gently squeeze your hand if they need to get your attention during a procedure.
• Try relaxation techniques: breathe in slowly for three seconds, breathe out slowly for three seconds, and imagine yourself on that beautiful tropical beach, or beside that soothing waterfall! Above all, remember that modern dentistry offers a wide range of options for treatment and pain management. Even if you’ve been a “dental chicken” in the past, shake those tail feathers and make that appointment now!