Pain can dominate anyone’s life. Although how we perceive discomfort can make all of the difference in whether we’ll ever actually experience any hurt.
At Bright and White Dental Spa we advocate the benefits of using mindfulness to avoid preconceptions of what MIGHT distress you and focus on the realities of the here-and-now.
Like all dentists I’m only too familiar with the common association between a visit to a dental practice and pain, which unfortunately induces dental anxiety in many people. Studies have shown this to be one of the main barriers to accessing dental health care.
How to get over your fear of going to the dentist
All dental professionals are trained in the management of anxiety but even dwelling in the safety of this knowledge, for some, fear takes over and the experience can become traumatic.
Today I want explain how a visit to the dentist doesn’t have to be loaded with negative thoughts; it can be transformed into a meaningful and self-gratifying routine leaving you feeling positive about your health.
Advances in dentistry mean we can provide pain free treatment so if you’ve put off seeing a dentist due to previous bad experiences you need not worry; we’ve come a long way into advancement.
Our management of pain will react on an individual basis. For a few, we may need to consider sedation but this can be avoided in majority of cases by using some well researched techniques.
We know how powerful our minds are and how adopting the right mental states and patterns can really help understand and eliminate distress.
The definition of mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
Here are five key tips and awareness techniques to help you manage dental anxiety and help improve your experience:
Avoidance will make it worse
- Avoiding treatment because of the fear of pain encourages our minds to believe we are preventing something bad happening to us. This is turn exaggerates the perception of pain and reinforces the need to avoid the dentist – it is a unnecessary vicious cycle!
- Don’t be afraid to express your fears, almost one third of the UK population feel anxious about visiting the dentist so you’re not alone. Click here for more information
- Let us know about your anxiety. When you call to make your appointment let the receptionist know your feelings and our team will then take special measures to ensure we help mange this.
- Consider popping into the practice before your appointment to meet the staff and have a look around to familiarise yourself with the environment and people.
Start slow build trust
- Commence with simple procedures like a scale and polish and build up to more complex treatments.
- If you need more than one treatment ask to spread this out, it doesn’t all have to happen at once. As your confidence grows you can build up to having longer appointments and more treatment in one visit.
- Use these visits as a chance to get to know your dentist and evolve confidence.
- Use a signal between you and dentist to communicate when you might want them to stop. I normally ask my patients to raise their hand if they want a break or to stop.
Mindfulness and relaxation
- Use music to help you relax. Your dentist won’t mind you putting head phones in during treatment.
- Using techniques such as mindfulness allows the mind to separate the two components of pain, the actual pain and thought of pain. Dental anxiety is dominated by the thought of pain and fear of the pain to come.
- Mindfulness helps us to think in the present, be aware of actual sensations and move away from the fear of what might happen or may have happened in the past, such as bad experiences at the dentist.
- At the end of your visit take a few moments to be aware of the fact that you took a positive step towards better health and yourself.
- Be aware that you overcame the anxiety; this is a big achievement.
- By making the effort to associate positive thoughts with your dental care you will allow you to overcome your fears.
- Most importantly remember as health care professionals we genuinely care about how you feel and perceive your treatment.
We are here to help and at Bright and White Dental Spa we relish taking any extra time to improve the dental experience for you.