If you experience dentophobia (a fear of the dentist) or you generally get nervous ahead of upcoming check-ups or a dental procedure, you’re not alone. Dental anxiety is a very common thing as going to the dentist can conjure up frightening images for young and old alike, particularly with alien instruments used inside the mouth and masked professionals staring over you. It’s not like films such as Marathon Man (1976), Little Shop of Horrors (1986) and even Finding Nemo (2003) have shone dentists in a good light either.

However, it’s important to remember that dentists work in a caring profession. As experts at maintaining your teeth, they will make your experience as easy and calming as can possibly be. Here are some ways to deal with dental anxiety:

Tell your dentist

If you’re nervous or worrying, tell your dentist. Whether you feel embarrassed to tell them or not, most dentists will understand and would have dealt with a wide spectrum of different people, from cool cats to nervous wrecks. With this in mind, they can take it slow and steady, allowing for plenty of breaks. As well as this, you can assign some hand signals to alert your dentist in case it gets too much and they will happily stop for a moment.

Listen to something calming

Whether it’s a ten minute check-up or an hour and a half procedure under local anaesthetic, why not listen to something to distract yourself? This could be an audiobook of one of your favourites, an interesting podcast or some meditative music. Make sure it’s not too funny, upsetting or upbeat to listen to, otherwise you’ll be laughing along, stressing even more or tapping along with the rhythm which can disrupt your dentist and make your situation even worse.

Don’t forget to breath

When nervous or anxious, people can forget to breathe properly and instead breathing becomes difficult and panicked. Leaving your mouth open for a long period of time can feel constricting at the dentist’s, but remember to relax, keep breathing through it and you’ll be surprised at how fine you feel.

Avoid caffeine

Of all the foods and drinks to avoid before a stressful event, you should strive to avoid caffeine as much as you can throughout the day. Caffeine is a stimulant that can set you on edge and increase your heart rate, meaning that anxiety gets even worse. As a central nervous system stimulant, caffeine can react in a way that can make you confused, make you irritable and cause nauseousness, which is the last thing you need when going into an already nerve-wracking dental appointment.

When going to the dentist, make sure you choose a professional who is personable, caring and takes your needs into consideration. At Riverside Dental Practice, our expert dentists in Stirling can provide you with high-class treatments, whether it’s a check up, a procedure or cosmetic treatment. To find out more, get in touch with us today or book an appointment on 01786 464 285.