Do you feel like escaping the dentist's appointment because you are too scared of the sharp dental instruments and the intricate dental procedures? Are you too anxious as your dental consultation nears the date? If the answer to these two questions is yes, then here are six smart strategies for you to counter that fight or flight response at your next dental consultation. Remember, regular dental checkups and getting appointments with a trust-worthy dentist go a long way to relieve your anxiety along with the below mentioned six strategies.
1. Embrace Non-intrusive Sedation dentistry
The most effective technique to manage anxiety is to allow a trusted sedation dentist to use dental sedation on you to lower your fight or flight response. One of the most common ways is the use of laughing gas or nitrous oxide to calm your mind. The dentist administers the laughing gas before the treatment through a mask, and you start to get calm. It also helps to manage pain when used along with local anesthesia. There are little to no side effects of the laughing gas. Even the effects wear off as soon as you remove the mask.
Another common dental sedation technique is to use a local topical solution to the affected area of the oral cavity. If you are someone scared of sedative injections, topical anesthetics can numb the oral cavity in a similar way to injected anesthetics. Another non-injectable medium of mitigating pain and reducing anxiety is oral sedation. Dentists prescribe pills like Halcion, Valium, Ativan, etc. which help patients to calm their nerves the night before the dental procedure. Therefore, you can still undergo the dental procedure without the fear of getting pricked by a needle.
2. Advanced Dental Sedation techniques:
If the sedation techniques mentioned above fail to reduce your fear, then you can ask your dentist for advanced sedation methods such as electronic anesthesia and IV sedation. For patients who are scared of injections, electronic anesthesia is a significant relief. It involves placing adhesive pads on your face and administering electrical impulses to numb the oral cavity and make the dental procedure painless. Some devices also send electrical impulses to the brain to reduce anxiety.
As a dental patient, you can even control the intensity of these impulses. If the sight of the dentist's chair scares you, then intravenous sedation or IV sedation is best for you. It works in seconds by reducing sensations, pain, and induce drowsiness during procedures. You don't feel much during the procedure, and may not even remember the details of the dental procedure. Therefore, it is a great way to tackle nervousness. Search online for sedation dentists near me to see a list of all dental clinics that support advanced sedation techniques.
3. A musical strategy:
Apart from dental sedation, there are few DIYs that you can implement as a routine before visiting the dentist. One such approach is listening to music. Make sure that you listen to music, i.e., your favorite tunes before reaching the dental clinic. Music will take care of your anxieties. Check with your dentist if you can bring an iPod to the clinic for your appointment. Music influences your mental symptoms. Plan your dental visit on days when you are least stressed and let the music maintain that calmness. Therefore, keeping appointments on your non-working days, such as weekends, can help you attend the dental consultation in a relaxed manner.
4. Breathe properly:
Many times during tensed situations at a dentist's clinic, you hold your breath. Holding your breath in anxiety deprives your body of oxygen. Oxygen is essential to your lungs and relieves stress. Not only does oxygen reduce the stress but also helps in preventing anxiety to creep up in the future. Breathing regularly and deeply before and during your dental procedure helps to increase the intake of oxygen, making you feel relaxed, and tackling your fight or flight response. Deep breathing relaxes your muscles too. If you are physically comfortable, it is highly unlikely that you will have any psychological tension. Therefore, you should breathe properly to tackle your fight or flight response during your dental procedure.
5. Communicate with your dentist :
One of the easiest ways to tackle your fears is to talk to your dentist about not just your symptoms but also your anxieties and phobias related to the dental procedures. The dentist is the right person to guide you regarding the pain level of the treatment method and sedation techniques used to alleviate the pain and anxieties of the technique. Your dentist can guide you with the right medicine to keep your worries at bay. So, instead of sitting home with that tooth cavity, pick up the phone and speak to your dentist about your fears. You can ask questions to your dentist about alternatives to a painful dental procedure.
6. Choosing the right dental clinic:
Another factor in inducing anxieties is the ambiance of the dentist's cabin. The clinic or the chamber where the procedure takes place should have a stress-free environment. Smells of eugenol can trigger anxiety in patients. Dental clinics with aromatic chambers, soothing music and dimmed lighting make the patients comfortable and provide moral support.
Also, the behavior of the dentist matters a lot. A right dentist should avoid rapid movements and proactively empathize with the patients. A dentist who is friendly and welcoming, and gives transparent and honest feedback about the patient's dental status, helps to provide reassurance to the patients, thus reducing patient fight or flight response. Some dentists employ relaxation techniques in their clinics to calm down the minds of the patients. Therefore, choose the right dental clinic where the dentist and the ambiance both are friendly towards you.
In conclusion, fears related to dental procedures can hinder you from visiting the dentist and, therefore, aggravate your oral health condition. Employing the above six strategies can help you in handling your fight or flight response. One tip to strengthen your mindset against anxiety is the process of auto-suggestion. You can practice in a small, dimly lit room, a method of meditation where you exercise your mind by repeatedly speaking that you are immune to the dental procedural fears.