If the idea of going to the dentist makes your heart start to race and your palms start to sweat, you’re not crazy — and you’re not alone either. White Coat Hypertension is a phenomenon that explains heightened blood pressure that occurs to some patients when visiting a doctor or dentist. Many people experience White Coat Hypertension, and this can cause patients to avoid visiting their healthcare professionals.
Today, the team at Marc J. Beshar Dentistry in New York, NY is here to offer tips and tricks on how to overcome your dental anxiety, easing your White Coat Hypertension and making your visit to the dentist more relaxing.
Mild Dental Anxiety
Mild dental anxiety is characterized by discomfort and nervousness at the dentist (as opposed to terror and panic). There are a number of things that you can do in order to combat your stress and make your experience in the dentist’s chair a little better.
Talk to Your Dentist
Dr. Beshar treats patients with dental anxiety every day, so we aren’t strangers to your fears. Let your dentist know what’s worrying you about your visit so that we can take measures to ensure your appointment is as relaxing as possible.
Practice Breathing Techniques
Controlled breathing relaxes your body and shifts your focus in order to clear your mind. The easiest breathing techniques simply involve inhaling and exhaling through your nose in a slow three-count—inhaling for three seconds, and then exhaling for another three seconds. This is particularly useful, as many patients with dental anxiety have trouble breathing when things are in their mouth.
Use Relaxation Techniques
You know yourself the best, so you know what relaxes you. Bring music to your appointment, ask your hygienist to put on a certain radio station, or simply have them chat to you about something. Discuss your options with your dentist prior to your appointment and they’ll work with you to try and find a relaxation solution that eases your fears.
Overcoming Severe Dental Anxiety
Patients with severe dental anxiety experience intense panic when visiting the dentist. Heightened blood pressure and panic attacks can often deter those with severe dental anxiety from visiting the dentist. Usually, severe dental anxiety is rooted in deeper psychological issues, so it’s harder, but not impossible to overcome.
Many patients can benefit from talking to a mental health professional about their dental anxiety. You and your counselor will look at the root causes of your phobia and try to work through it to move beyond your fears.
Dental anxiety is common. There are plenty of websites like DentalFearCentral that have forums dedicated to overcoming phobias. You can ask site members about successful techniques, helpful therapists, and recommended dentists.
If other techniques prove unsuccessful, you may benefit from sedation. Patients with severe dental anxiety who opt for sedation have a higher chance of visiting the dentist again, so discuss your sedation options with your dentist before your appointment.
There are different types of sedation available, but most often your dentist will choose oral or IV sedation. Oral sedation involves swallowing a pill about an hour before your appointment. You’ll still be conscious during your treatment, but you’ll feel drowsy and relaxed.
If that isn’t enough, Dr. Beshar may recommend IV sedation. This entails an injection administered into the back of your hand. You should remain conscious, but you will be in a deeply relaxed state, completely erasing your anxiety.
Contact Marc J. Beshar Dentistry
Dr. Beshar wants all of our patients to feel relaxed at our New York, NY practice. We believe that dental anxiety should be a thing of the past, allowing you to visit us every 6 months to maintain optimum oral health. Contact us to talk to our friendly staff about your concerns to see how we can help you kick your dental anxiety to the curb!