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Most people don’t enjoy any time spent in a dental chair. Your stomach may churn at the mere thought of a cavity filling, let alone a root canal, wisdom tooth extraction or other major oral procedure. You have to take care of your teeth, but you might be downright terrified about your upcoming dental work. To help calm dentist anxiety before the big day, here are five tips for body and mind relaxation before a big dental procedure.
Make a Music Playlist to Bring Along
Many people prefer to put in headphones or earbuds while they’re having their teeth worked on. This can provide comfort as well as drown out the sound of any drills, suction tubes or other tools.
You could also put on a good audio book and focus on the narrator’s voice. You can do this before your appointment and during. Preparing all of this ahead of time will help give you a sense of control and readiness, so you have at least one thing you can count on when you get there.
Anxiety can make it feel like it’s difficult to get a deep breath. Some people even experience full-blown panic attacks that make them feel like they’re choking. When you start to feel the first signs of anxiety about the dentist, take a deep breath in through your nose to the count of four. Hold this breath as you count to six, then release again for four seconds.
Try to draw in slow, steady breaths from your belly, so your stomach rises instead of your chest. This technique is called diaphragmatic breathing, and it can help trigger your body’s natural relaxation response.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Anxiety and stress causes you to hold tension in your muscles. This can put you even more on-edge and even give you a headache. To alleviate this, frequently check in with your body. What areas are the tightest?
Start with your shoulders and work your way down. Squeeze each muscle for a few seconds, then release. By the time you reach your toes, your entire body should feel much lighter and relaxed.
Talk to Your Dentist
Avoid reading dentist horror stories on Reddit, and call up your office instead. Your dentist can help you prepare for your procedure by answering any questions and walking you through the process in as little or much detail as you want.
One of the most nerve-wracking parts about a big dental procedure is not knowing what’s going to happen. Speaking with your dentist takes away the uncertainty and can make you feel much calmer and controlled when you arrive.
You may not be able to eat solid foods right after your procedure, especially if you’re having an extraction. Make sure you have everything you’ll need at home to be comfortable immediately after.
You should also bring along anything that brings added security to your appointment. This could be a charm or keychain that you hold during the procedure, or even a small stuffed animal.
Don’t arrive too early, either. You don’t want to spend an hour sitting in the waiting room wrought with anxiety. Strive to get there 15 to 30 minutes before your appointment. This will give you enough time to fill out any required paperwork and comfortably get ready without having too much free time to worry.
Thee you have it. Now, when you are scheduled for work on your teeth, you will know how to achieve relaxation before a big dental procedure. You most likely find that the procedure goes
About the Author
Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. Anica recommends finding a dentist you can trust before any type of procedure. You can connect with her on Twitter @AnicaOaks.