For some, going to the dentist can be a scary experience. The sharp-looking tools, loud noises, and inability to exactly see what’s going on in your mouth can be frightening, and this is normal. Many people feel anxious at just the thought of going to a dentist’s office, but there are ways to overcome this fear:
Not all hygienists and dentists are the same; some may be more or less gentle with your pearly whites than others, so finding that one who can work on your mouth with a minimal amount of your cringing is optimum. A sympathetic dentist who understands your fears and reservations about certain procedures can decrease your stress levels and make your cleanings a more enjoyable experience.
Talking to your dentist is important both before and during the cleaning; light conversation about one another's personal lives can allow you to trust in the compassionate hands of your dentist, since bonding sometimes brings about the establishment of an assurance of good faith. Similarly, communication during the cleaning is a very important. As odd as it may sound, it can even benefit you to find a dentist with a great sense of humor. A sense of humor in health care professionals allows clients to feel more comfortable and relaxed, and facilitates a more harmonious relationship between the two.
Sure, this sounds sort of strange at face value, but it makes sense: What makes people most scared of the dentist is the dental equipment. That’s right, those strange and sharp metal tools. However, physically holding the (handheld) tools may make them feel less unfamiliar and alien to you, possibly allowing you to feel less nervous.
While lying on the dental chair, try not to think about or pay too much attention to what is/will be going on in your mouth. Anticipating pain or discomfort will only make you more nervous and fearful, making a visit to the dentist that much more unpleasant. Ask your dentist whether it is acceptable for you to listen to music during the cleaning as a form of distraction and relaxation; more likely than not it should be okay, so long as you are able to hear any instructions given and your headphone wires don’t get in the way.
Carrying a stress ball allows you to squeeze away your stress and to take your mind off the perceived unpleasantness. You may feel all of your muscles begin to tense up as the dental tools reach your mouth, but concentrate on calming individual muscles until they are all completely relaxed.. Breathe deeply and keep in mind that pain is actually quite uncommon in general dental procedures as long as proper steps are taken to ease one’s mind. There are also a number of sedation options that can be provided for you, ranging from a pill to general anesthesia. Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is an anxiolytic-- inhibiting anxiety -- and can be used to calm your nerves if you so request. Otherwise, general anesthesia is usually an option.