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Dental anxiety is a common issue that affects 1 in 6 Australians. It can prevent many people from receiving the necessary dental care they need to maintain good oral health. If you suffer from dental anxiety, it can be difficult to relax and feel comfortable during dental appointments. Read on for some tips to help make your dental visits a little less stressful.

  1. Communicate with your dentist. During your first appointment, take some time to speak with your dentist about your anxiety. Explain what you're feeling and what you're worried about. By doing so, your dentist can work with you to come up with a plan to make your visits more manageable.

  2. Find a dentist you trust. It’s important to find a dentist that you feel comfortable with, who is friendly and understanding of your fears. A good dentist will listen to your concerns and take the time to help you relax.

  3. Use distraction during dental treatment. Listening to music or podcasts or watching a movie can help distract you from the sounds and sensations of the procedure.

  4. Practice relaxation techniques. Deep breathing, visualization, and progressive muscle relaxation can help you relax and manage your anxiety. Consider practicing these techniques before your appointment so that you can use them confidently during the procedure.

  5. Get to know your dental team. It can be helpful to meet and get to know the dental team ahead of time. This can help you feel more comfortable and at ease during your appointments.

  6. Gradually expose yourself to dental procedures. If you have severe dental anxiety, it can be helpful to start with shorter appointments or less invasive procedures, such as a teeth cleaning, before moving on to more complex procedures. This will help you build up a level of trust and comfort with your dentist and the process.

  7. Consider counselling. If your dental anxiety is affecting your quality of life, consider talking to a psychologist or counsellor. They can help you work through your fears and develop coping mechanisms to help you manage your anxiety during dental appointments.

  8. Be honest with your dentist about your needs. If you need breaks during the procedure or need to stop for a moment, don’t be afraid to ask. Your dentist wants you to feel as comfortable as possible, and they will work with you to accommodate your needs. Signalling techniques can make this easier.

  9. Educate yourself. Understanding the procedures and what to expect can help you feel more at ease. Ask your dentist to explain the process, show you any instruments they will be using, and let you know what to expect during the appointment.

  10. Consider some form of dental sedation. There are multiple options available to suit your needs and level of dental fear, best discussed with your dentist.

In conclusion, managing dental anxiety can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. By following these tips, you can make your dental appointments less stressful and more manageable. Don’t let your anxiety prevent you from getting the care you want.


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