If you've been avoiding your biannual trip to the dentist out of fear, you're not alone. Up to 20% of Americans avoid the dentist out of fear, but with the right supports, you don't have to be one of them any longer. Below are three tips on helping you cope with your anxiety so that you can get the dental care you deserve.
Understand Your Anxiety
The better you understand your anxiety, the better you can learn to cope with its effects.
While visiting the dentist in general likely makes you feel uneasy, there's probably a more specific reason for your fear. Is it the needles? Could it be the lack of control that you feel? How about the fear of pain? It's important that you get to the root of your anxiety so that you can be sure to speak up to your dentist and find ways to make your visits easier.
Let Your Voice Be Heard
If you're anxious about your upcoming dental visit, it's important that you find a dentist who will listen to your fears and work with you to ease them.
When meeting with a new dentist, it's important to voice your fears in the beginning. Their response will help you to determine whether they'll be a good fit for you or not. Talking points during the initial consultation include ways your dentist can help you to feel more at ease, such as describing each step of the cleaning process before doing them or playing a pre-selected list of songs. The majority of dentists are willing to accommodate their patients, but only you can tell them what you need.
Seek Professional Help
Sometimes, despite how hard you try, your anxiety is too much to handle on your own. In cases such as this, seeking help from a mental health counselor may be your next step.
A counselor can help you to better understand your anxiety and help you find healthy ways of coping. Battling anxiety isn't easy, but with the right counselor, you can do so in a healthy and effective way. For example, if the sound of the drill is your fear, your counselor may suggest the use of another stimulus during the procedure, such as the use of a stress ball. A counselor experienced in treating dental anxiety can help to desensitize you to the smells, sounds, and sights of the dental office so you can get the dental care you deserve.
While dental anxiety is a common problem, you don't have to let it rule you. To learn more about dental anxiety and what you can do to combat it, talk to a dental clinic like Mammoth Spring Dental Clinic LLC.