A certain level of apprehension before your dental appointment is completely normal, however some of us (to be exact, an estimated 16% of all Australians) experience higher levels of fear or anxiety before a dental visit.
The solution however is not to avoid appointments entirely. Rather, let us here at Mills Road Dental help you to ease the stress of your next visit.
Treating patients with dental anxiety is not uncommon, and our team have been specially trained to manage these situations and help you feel more comfortable.
If you’re feeling anxious at the thought of your next checkup, here’s some strategies that may help:
1. Tell Your Dentist
It’s important to be upfront with your dentist and make them aware of your fears prior to your visit. When making your appointment, be sure to mention your anxiety to our friendly reception staff.
Depending on the treatment you’re receiving, our team may recommend that you come into the centre prior to your appointment, allowing you to meet your dentist to talk through the following:
- The severity of your fears, and the different techniques the team will employ to help you alleviate these. These may include working slowly through your
procedure and taking regular breaks, or practising simple breathing exercises.
- What your procedure will involve, including what level of pain or discomfort you should expect during or after your treatment (if any!).
- The tools the dental staff will use during your procedure, along with an explanation of what each one does.Any other worries or concerns you may have, and how to communicate with the dental staff during your procedure.
Your next appointment at Mills Road will be far more comfortable when you and your dentist are prepared.
2. Bring Along a Friend
Consider having a close friend or family member by your side during your next appointment – someone who understands your fears and can help comfort you during your checkup. Having a familiar face in the room whilst you’re in an unfamiliar environment or situation can go a long way.
If you plan on bringing a friend or family member along to your next appointment, just be sure to let our reception staff know in advance. The team can then set a space for them in the procedure room that’s close to your chair.
3. Practise Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques, such as meditation or breathing exercises can greatly help you to relax.
Try performing a controlled breathing exercise by taking a big breath in, holding it for 3 counts, then letting it out slowly and steadily. Keep repeating this as necessary.
Breathing exercises like this can help to slow your heartbeat, soften your tensed muscles and give you an overall feeling of relaxation.
4. Explore Your Options
Depending on the type of procedure you are to undergo and the severity of your anxiety, your dentist may suggest administering one of the following:
- Local anaesthesia’
- Medication to relax
- Happy gas (Nitrous Oxide)
- Deep sedation (sleep dentistry-administered by a anaesthetist at practice)
- General anaesthetic (though generally not required, and is administered only at private hospitals)
Each of these have their own pros and cons, and suitability, and our team are happy to discuss these with you during your next appointment.
This blog page has been fact-checked by Dentist Dr Aran Moorthy.