Many people suffer from some level of dental fear or anxiety, but it can be really difficult when it stops you from attending appointments and checkups. This guide explains three helpful things you can do to reduce anxiety and make your appointment a success.
Work Through Your Feelings
The first thing you could try is to work through your feelings. This could involve talking about them with a trusted friend, discussing the topic with a therapist, or simply writing down your feelings. Very Well Mind explains some techniques for journaling about anxiety, such as setting a timer and writing down all the feelings you have. You can then examine those feelings, try to work out their root cause and figure out whether they are rational. It might be a good idea to journal before and after your appointment, and it's likely you'll find the actual appointment wasn't as bad as you imagined.
Ask For Support
The next thing you could try is to ask for support. The support you need depends on your exact anxieties and fears. If you have trouble actually going to the appointment or sitting in the waiting room, it's a good idea to ask a friend or family member to come with you. They could also come into the room with you during the appointment if you find it comforting. You might also ask for support from your dentist. They will be used to nervous patients and will be able to help, whether it's answering questions, arranging a signal to stop and take a break or providing dental sedation.
Try Some Coping Strategies
Finally, you could also implement some coping strategies for your appointment. Think about what would help you to keep this appointment and make it a success. For example, would it be helpful if you mediated or worked out before the appointment to reduce stress? Would it help you if you rewarded yourself for going to the appointment? You might want to listen to music or a podcast while in the chair or the waiting room to distract yourself or do a relaxing visualisation while you're in the chair. Practice these strategies before your appointment for the best results.
By working through your feelings, asking for the type of support you need and coming up with some handy coping strategies, you can reduce the anxiety you feel and successfully attend your dental checkup. If you don't know what to do, speak to a local dentist for support and advice.