Even though dental check-ups are an essential part of maintaining healthy dental hygiene, many Australians feel nervousness, fear and anxiety about visiting the dentist. A person may experience dental anxiety because of past bad experiences, a phobia, or a specific medical condition. Whether you’re in need of dental surgery, teeth whitening, braces, or even a simple check-up, it’s normal to feel some anxiety – but there are steps you can take to help alleviate your fears.

1. Talk to your dentist

The first step you should take to tackle dental anxiety is to talk to your dentist before your appointment. Express any feelings or worries you may have. Most dentists are experienced in treating people with dental anxiety and understand the most common fears. Your dentist will know the best ways to make your check-up or procedure comfortable for you. If it helps, your dentist can explain in detail what will happen during the appointment, so you will know exactly what to expect going forward.

2. Arrive early for your appointment

It’s a good idea to arrive about 20 minutes early for your appointment. This way, you have time to prepare and voice any last-minute concerns with your dentist before your check-up or dental surgery begins. White & Bright Family Dental offers massage chairs to help relax you before your appointment, and their staff are trained in cognitive behavioural therapy to help you manage your fears.

3. Be careful about what you eat and drink

On the day of your appointment, avoid drinks containing caffeine, as caffeine is a known anxiety trigger for many people. Try to eat a healthy, protein-rich breakfast to keep your body energised and your blood glucose levels steady. Also make sure to stay hydrated, as dehydration is known to negatively affect mood.

4. Bring a friend or family member with you

Check with your dentist if it’s okay to bring a friend or family member to your appointment with you. Having someone you trust to sit by you and reassure you during your appointment is a fantastic way to help alleviate anxiety symptoms.

Keep these tips in mind when booking your next dental visit, and your appointment should run smoothly.

Photo: Stress by Sari Montag licensed under Creative commons 5