If the thought of going to the orthodontist makes you anxious, you’re far from alone. Maybe you’re anxious about what an orthodontist will find. Maybe you’ve had a bad experience. However, an orthodontist ultimately wants to help you and keep your mouth healthy and there are many ways to ease dental anxiety:
It can seem impossible to take your mind off an orthodontist visit when you’ve got dental anxiety, but it can be done. You can keep your hands busy by playing with a fidget spinner. You can visualize yourself somewhere else, perhaps somewhere that makes you happy. You can also wear headphones so you can crank your favorite tunes while the orthodontist goes to work.
If you’re going to see the orthodontist about your braces, something that 25% of adults have according to Humana, there are ways to ease the tension you might feel. One way to relax your muscles and ease dental anxiety is to count your breaths. Inhale a breath and hold it for 5-10 seconds. Then exhale for the same amount of time. Do this several times as you wait to see the orthodontist or when you’re in the dental chair.
You can also do a body scan as you lie in the chair. Concentrate on each body part and focus on relaxing that body part. Start with your head and slowly work your way down. The more you focus, the more you can relax.
Whether you’re there to discuss braces, Invisalign aligners or TMJ treatment, one of the best things you can do to ease your dental anxiety is to say something. If you’re feeling anxious, get it off your chest and let the orthodontist know what your concerns are.
Remind the orthodontist that you’re anxious when you arrive. You can also ask for coping strategies to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions either. If there’s a procedure you’re unfamiliar with, ask your orthodontist to explain it to you. You can also ask for an anesthetic if it will help calm you.
Remember that the orthodontist is there to help you, so don’t be afraid to let them know when you’re uncomfortable. By asking questions, getting to know your orthodontist, and using relaxation techniques, you can feel more at ease the next time you go in for an appointment.