Have you ever avoided dental work that needed to be done out of anxiety about visiting the dentist’s office? You are not alone. Dental anxiety is a normal feeling to experience and is something Cashmere Family Dentistry is prepared to help you handle. Our team has compiled a short guide explaining what this feeling is and the top three ways to help manage it.
Understanding Dental Anxiety
What Is It?
Dental anxiety is related to negative associations, fear, or stress some patients may have with dental work. These nervous feelings are normal for patients of all ages to go through and are not something to be ashamed of. Common triggers may include trauma from a previous procedure, fear of needles, or even the sight of a treatment chair. Our team is here to remind you that you are not alone; you have the full support of the Cashmere Family Dentistry team. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is well-prepared to help you manage it.
Common Signs and Symptoms
If you suffer from dental anxiety, you may have experienced some of the following symptoms: getting sweaty or overheating, having a racing heartbeat, feeling faint upon walking into the office or as your appointment begins, being visibly distressed, or having low blood pressure.
Drs. Ryan and Janie Busk understand treatment can be nerve-wracking. Let us know if any of these signs sound familiar to you so we can take the proper measures to help provide a more comfortable and easy experience.
1) Talk To Us About Your Concerns
We are able to help you out the most when you are transparent with your feelings of anxiety at the start of treatment. Our team has years of collective experience in supporting patients with these concerns. The earlier we know about it, the earlier in your treatment plan we can help you.
When we talk about tailoring treatment to each patient, we don’t just mean customizing your appliance. We work to accommodate your concerns and anxieties in each appointment to create a safe and comfortable environment. Drs. Ryan and Janie Busk, and the rest of our outstanding staff, will be happy to talk you through each step of an upcoming procedure or appointment so you know exactly what to expect on the day of. No surprises will await you.
2) There are Many Methods to Distract Yourself
You can distract yourself throughout an appointment in many ways, including bringing physical diversions with you, having a supportive friend by your side, and going to your happy place. We recommend practicing the following distractions to see what works most effectively.
Bringing Diversions with You
Our team encourages you to bring a pair of headphones to listen to music or have something to watch, focus on a specific point on the wall, or even get a stress ball to squeeze. Each has the power to shift your attention away from anxiety triggers and instead enjoy a completely unrelated task. If there is another small item you can bring, please feel free to do so!
Ask a Friend or Family Member to Join
Cashmere Family Dentistry also encourages you to ask a supportive friend or family member to accompany you to your next appointment. While you may not be able to talk to them during this time, their presence can assist in relaxing you during otherwise tense moments in the treatment chair.
They will still be able to speak to you and act as a source of emotional support. If you are distracted by anxiety as your appointment ends, they can also ask questions you may wonder about when you get home.
Another way you can distract your mind at the dentist’s office is by practicing guided imagery. Otherwise known as finding your happy place, this method can help ease anxiety by imagining you are somewhere else. All you need to do is think of an environment or a memory that makes you feel completely at ease and try to transport yourself there. Imagine the sounds this place makes, the things you would feel, the people you would see or talk to, etc.
This place depends on each patient, but for some, it may be walking through a beautiful nature park, being on a calm beach or playing video games with friends. These positive associations have the power to shift your mindset and help calm yourself as if you are elsewhere. You can even bring an object related to your happy place to hold in your hands.
3) Concentrate on Deep Breathing and Meditation
Finally, you can try deep breathing and meditation techniques to ease your anxieties inside and outside the dental office. By concentrating on the sound of your breath and slowing down your heart rate, you hold the power to reduce the sometimes overwhelming physical effects of dental anxiety on your body.
This will allow you to relax and calm down, focusing on releasing tension from your body instead of the work done inside your mouth. You can even practice this technique at home to feel confident and ready for your next appointment.
Overcome Your Dental Anxiety Today!
Cashmere Family Dentistry will help support you throughout your oral work journey in whatever ways we can. If you feel your anxiety rising during an appointment, don’t hesitate to let us know so we can take a short breather. Our priority is to make your experience as comfortable as possible. Schedule an appointment with Drs. Ryan and Janie Busk at our Cashmere office today to get started on treatment.