If you feel anxious whenever you go to the dentist and have a heightened level of fear at the thought of having a procedure performed, those feelings aren't just in your head. Dental anxiety is a real thing, but it's an issue that you can work through. Learn some strategies you can utilize to help work through your concerns.
Monitor Your Diet
Be mindful of what you eat or drink before your appointment. Try not to enjoy a large cup of coffee, soda, or other heavily caffeinated drink. Caffeine is a natural stimulant. If you already feel anxious and nervous, the last thing you need in your system is a stimulant that will only magnify these feelings. You know your body best, so only consume these drinks when there is enough time for them to be out of your system before the appointment.
Bring Your Music
Purchase a set of wireless headphones that you can bring to your appointment. Wireless headphones are better than wired headphones since there aren't any wires that might get in the way of the dentist while he or she is trying to work. Music is a great way to take your mind away from where you are to someplace different. If you close your eyes while you listen to music, you can drift off and relax.
Speak with your provider about sedation dentistry, especially if you plan to have a procedure performed, such as a tooth extraction. Dental sedation comes in several different forms including nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas), which is administered through an inhalation mask. Another option is medication through an IV, which is typically used for deep sedation. The provider can help you determine which option is best based on your level of concern and the specific procedure you plan to have performed.
Plan your appointment wisely to keep your nerves at ease. For example, if you know you have to pick up your child by 5:30, maybe you shouldn't schedule an appointment at 4:30. If you're already anxious about being at the dentist, you will only add an additional layer of anxiety if you also have to worry about fighting traffic and arriving at the childcare center on time. Schedule the appointment on a day of the week and time of the day when you're less likely to be stressed.
Let your dentist know about your concerns, even if you believe they are trivial. The dental team will work through your fears and offer sedation services, where appropriate, to ensure your comfort.