For many, the anticipation of the dental drill — just the sound of it — is enough to clench your eyes shut and squirm. But the pain you believe you’ll endure when visiting an Asheville dentist is often far worse than the actual experience. Painful past experiences in the dentist’s chair may have you expecting the worst.
In truth, you have significant control over how your experience will go, whether you need a filling or some other major dental work. Your Asheville dentist relies on the most effective pain-numbing measures to ensure your comfort. And you can take steps to alleviate your anxiety by relaxing in the dentist’s chair.
Take Back Your Power
With a little effort, you can take control of your next dental visit, subduing the fears you bring to the chair. Here are our tips for making your experience more agreeable. Empower yourself and your next visit will pass with ease.
- Talk to your Asheville dentist about your fears.
Our team at Zöe Dental is sensitive to your feelings. We’ll explain the procedure to give you a good idea of what to expect. Knowing you’re nervous about a procedure can help us set the tone for the experience — going a little slower, checking on you more often and using additional numbing medications.
- Bring headphones, an MP3 player or iPod with your favorite music.
Listening to music can both distract you and soothe your nerves when you’re at your Asheville dentist. Healers have relied on music for hundreds of years to reduce stress and relieve anxiety. Choose tunes that have proven to relax you in the past and put you in a soothing frame of mind.
- Listen to comedy riffs or funny shows on your electronics.
Listen to a stand-up routine or comedy show on your portable device while you’re in the waiting room of your Asheville dentist. Plug into a light-hearted, funny audible e-book through your headphones while you’re in the chair. Talk about distractions; it’s hard to maintain the worry lines when the belly laughs want to break out.
- Practice deep-breathing exercises.
When preparing for your appointment, take deep breaths — in through your nose and out through your mouth. The practice calms you down by slowing your heart rate and reducing your blood pressure. You can minimize physical signs of stress when breathing deeply. Stay focused on your breath throughout your visit.
- Keep your eyes open.
While it may seem counterintuitive, dentists like Dr. Stamatiades are trained to work so you won’t see his instruments. Study the pictures on the wall or watch a show if your dental office provides a screen. The visual distractions will help keep your mind off your mouth.
- Invite a friend or family member to come with you.
Sometimes just having a friendly face in the waiting room with you can help ease your anxiety. Once you’re in the chair, ask our dental assistant to hold your hand if you start feeling nervous. Knowing that others are watching out for your welfare takes the edge off your experience.
- Visualize yourself in a relaxing environment.
Use the time to practice your imagination skills. Go to your “happy place” while you lie back in the chair. Imagine warm breezes at the beach or the cool mist coming off a waterfall. Picture yourself totally relaxed in one of your favorite vacation spots.
- Eat and drink for comfort.
This is the time for comfort food. Drink a tall glass of milk before going into the dentist. Warm it up for even better results. It’s full of tryptophan. Eat a high protein meal with carbs that usually put you in a stupor. Avoid caffeine, chocolate, tea and sugar — they tend to exacerbate anxiety and leave you jittery.
- Talk to a therapist.
If your anxiety is so debilitating that you postpone or completely ignore the dentist, get some help. Your dental problems won’t go away on their own. To overcome your fears, talk therapy can help you uncover the real reasons behind your anxiety so you can begin the healing process and take back control of your emotions.
- Take the drugs.
If you are prone to bouts of anxiety about dentists or have an extremely sensitive mouth, ask your dentist for nitrous oxide or request a sedative prior to the procedure. You’ll need to get someone to drive you home, but at least you’ll get through the experience — and with a healthier mouth.
Your Asheville dentist is willing to work with you and help you find a solution to your anxiety. Just ask us.
—The Zöe Dental Team