8 Ways to Help Your Family Members with Dental Anxiety
Having dental anxiety isn’t unusual, but it can have a negative impact on dental health. When your loved one feels nervous about going to the dentist, they might put off important routine care, like cleanings. Anxiety might also cause them to avoid having work done for tooth decay or other problems. Left untreated, this often leads to serious complications. You can help any of your family members with dental anxiety to ensure that they receive regular professional dental care for healthier teeth. Here’s what you need to know.
Go to Their Appointment with Them
Having you at the dentist’s office with them might help your loved one feel calmer. While you’re in the waiting room, you can keep them from focusing on their anxiety by chatting with them. Being there can also provide them with some emotional support, so they won’t feel as stressed about getting a cleaning or dental work done.
Encourage Them to Meditate
Meditation has been shown to help reduce anxiety, including dental anxiety. If your loved one is new to meditation, help them get started with the use of an app, book or video series. Make sure they know the benefits of meditation, such as improving their emotional and mental well-being. This will help them feel less nervous about seeing the dentist. Keep in mind that meditation takes some getting used to. Your loved one should aim to practice meditating a little bit on a daily basis.
Help Them Find a Calming App
Many apps are available to help people feel calmer, which might help ease their dental anxiety. Some apps play soothing nature sounds or music, while others help people practice mindfulness, gratitude or meditation in order to feel calmer. Browse through calming apps with your loved one, and help them choose one that they think might work for them. They can use this app before their appointment and while they’re in the waiting room if they’re still feeling nervous. In some cases, they may be able to listen to it during their appointment, as well.
Listen to Their Concerns
Talking about dental anxiety might help ease some of it, so make sure your loved one knows that you’re willing to listen to their fears. Encourage your family member to talk to you about why they’re nervous about going to the dentist. Reassure them that help is out there for them, and you’ll help them find a way to manage this anxiety.
Play Soothing Music
When you’re in the car on the way to the dentist, play soft, soothing music for your loved one to help them feel calm. They might also be able to continue listening to calming music through earbuds while waiting at the dentist’s office. Alternately, if they prefer a very specific type of music, maybe something less than soothing, but it helps them feel calm, encourage them to listen to it.
Practice Deep Breathing
Deep breathing can produce a calming effect, which can help a loved one who has dental anxiety. If they’re not used to doing this kind of calming exercise, help them out. You can both practice taking slow, deep breaths and releasing them gently. Getting into the habit of doing deep breathing while nervous can help your loved one feel more at ease at their dental appointment.
Offer Eating and Drinking Advice
Your loved one might not be aware that certain foods and beverages might increase their dental anxiety. Before their appointment, encourage them to avoid drinking or eating anything that contains caffeine, such as coffee, since this could make them feel more nervous. They should also avoid eating foods that are high in sugar, since these can also increase anxiety levels. Encourage them to enjoy a healthy meal with plenty of protein and other nutrients instead.
Find a Dentist Who Offers Dental Sedation
Whether your family member struggles with mild or severe dental anxiety, it’s important that they go to an understanding dentist. Help your loved one find a local dentist in Mesa or Phoenix who offers dental sedation and has experience helping patients who have dental anxiety. Dental sedation is available in different forms, such as IV sedation or oral sedation. Your loved one should be able to get the right kind of dental sedation to help them feel calmer at their dental visits.
If you have a family member who is nervous about going to the dentist, contact Dental Brothers today. We offer dental sedation in Phoenix and Mesa to help patients who deal with dental anxiety at any level. We can make sure they get the dental care they need with less fear.