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If you are having trouble taking care of your dental health because you are avoiding dental visits at all costs, you may be suffering from dental anxiety or phobia. It is common to avoid going to the dentist because you are afraid of pain, but people who have phobia will postpone a dental visit until they are in unbearable pain. At that point your dental issue will require more treatment than a simple fix at the problem’s earliest stages.

Take heart, unless your phobia requires the assistance of a counselor, there are some easy measures you can take to face your dentist!

— If you are affected by the feeling of helplessness or lack of control, it will help if you let the staff know before your visit that you are anxious. Your dental team will do what they can to make you comfortable and reassure you. You can work out an agreed upon signal, like raising your hand during a procedure to let them know you need to pause for a moment. Just knowing this can help give you that needed breathing space. Your team will also explain what is going to happen next so you will know what to expect, which removes anxiety because there will be no surprises.

— Bringing a trusted friend or family member can also work wonders in feeling supported and calm.

— Once you feel the support of your dental team, you can assist in the calming of your fears as well. If you love music you can bring a small music player and listen to your favorite tunes with ear buds that won’t get in the way of your dental procedure. You can go to your “happy place” by visualizing a soothing scene in your mind, and focus on the sights, sounds, and feel of this space. Practice taking slow deep breaths can also reduce your heart rate and relax your muscles.

It helps to remember that your dentist wants to give you a beautiful healthy smile that lasts a lifetime. We invite you to call our dental office if we can help you smile your brightest! 916-915-5108.