Experts say as much as 20 percent of dental patients have significant anxiety about their visit to the dentist. But they are wrong. When you include the number of people that never go to the dentist because they are severely phobic about dentistry, the amount is probably much larger, and that is backed up by personal actions.

According to a recent Gallup survey, one in three Americans skipped a visit to the dentist last year, and this is most likely due not to financial hardships, but because a significant percentage of people are truly afraid of going to the dentist.

Unfortunately, following through with this fear and failing to see the dentist can have severe consequences on your physical health, such as:

  •  A higher risk of cardiovascular disease
  •  A greater risk of diabetes
  •  Cancer caused by poor gum health
  •  Infertility in women despite their desire to bear children

So it’s not just issues like bad breath, cavities, and discolored teeth that are at issue. Seeing a dentist is a necessity.

 But what if you have anxiety regarding dental care? What can you do?

One of the main things is to consult your dentist about your anxieties. After all, you will surely not be the only patient they have ever had that had some form of dental phobia.

The majority of dentists are very patient about their patient’s dental fears and can often alleviate them just by giving you an opportunity to express your concerns and let them patiently explain how most dental procedures work.

Going to the dentist need not be painful, which is probably the main concern or anxiety. Oftentimes, just knowing that your dentist and his staff will be gentle with you is enough to get many people over the anxiety hump.

 Are there other things you can do to make going to the dentist more comfortable?

Yes indeed. One of the first things you can do is to practice relaxation techniques such as paying attention to your breathing. Women use breathing techniques to cope with the real pain of childbirth so learning to pay attention to your breathing can go a long way toward reducing your anxiety.

You may note that you aren’t the meditative type. That’s perfectly okay. Then do the next best thing and ask your dentist if you can bring along some of your favorite music and a set of small earbuds to get you through your dental procedures.

Not only will your dentist most likely agree, but no matter what your music style, whether it is classical music or the rocking music of Rolling Stones, you’ll be much more relaxed during your appointment.

Quite often, it is the sounds of that dental drill that sets people off the most, and that’s backed up by science. Our imagination of the pain we might experience from the dentist seems to be stronger than the actual experience of pain patients feel.

 Have more control of your dental appointment

Another thing you can do is to take more control of your appointment with the dentist. Arrive on time but don’t go in too early. If you go in early, you’ll have more time to worry about your appointment in the waiting room.

Also, bring your music into the waiting room and get into a relaxed state from the start, or at the very least, bring a good book or your favorite magazine along.

Relying on the magazines at the dentist’s office won’t usually cut it.

Also, if possible bring a friend along, and have them wait for your appointment to finish. It’s psychological, but somehow, just having a friend in the waiting room for you is very helpful.

Also, during your actual procedure, take breaks if you actually experience pain. Trust us on this, your dental staff will be accommodating and will give you an opportunity to take a small break during your procedure.

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