If you are anxious about going to the dentist, there are several things you can do before and during your appointment to reduce your anxiety. Of course, you should tell your dentist about your anxiety so they can make you as comfortable as possible. Your dentist, like one at Knellinger Dental Excellence, may alter their behavior or put on relaxing music to help soothe your anxieties. Sometimes you would rather handle your anxiety on your own, though. If it is difficult for you to admit that you are afraid, here are three relaxation techniques that are so subtle your dentist won't notice you doing them.
The key to all three of these techniques is practicing at home. Practicing at home prepares you mentally for your visit. You will go into your appointment feeling less anxious, and you can use these techniques to stay at that restful, calm energy level throughout your procedure.
Deep breathing is a well-known way of calming yourself, but did you know that deep breathing does not have to be a spectacle? When done properly, deep breathing can actually be quite subtle. Most beginners achieve deep breathing by utilizing a fast-paced inhalation, thinking the force of the breath will help to fill their lungs. However, a more efficient way to practice deep breathing is to concentrate on your diaphragm lowering to make space for your breath.
Concentrating on your belly expanding, rather than on your nose and lungs, allows you to take quiet, slow breaths. It also activates the vagus nerve, which is the real reason why deep breathing calms you.
Hypnosis has been known to work to calm patients in a variety of scenarios, but what is becoming more popular, is self-hypnosis. Self-hypnosis is training yourself to reach a relaxed, trance-like state through various cues, such as gazing at an object or chanting a mantra. If self-hypnosis is powerful enough to ease labor pains, then it can probably help with anxiety at the dentist's office as well.
One of the most effective types of self-hypnosis at the dentist's office may be object gazing. Usually, the frame around the lights over your head make an excellent focal point.
Cue-Controlled Deep Muscle Relaxation
Cue-controlled deep muscle relaxation is based on the theory that when you have mental anxiety, the muscles in your body tighten. By learning to recognize when those muscles are tensed, and to relax them, you are able to force your mind to relax as well. This method may take slightly longer than the other two methods to master, so you should start learning it well before your dental appointment.
To make CC-DMR most effective, you should first practice general relaxation and awareness techniques. Then, you should practice these techniques while thinking about going to the dentist. Finally, you should perform the same techniques while you are in the dentist's chair. As an added bonus, you may find that, with practice, you are more aware of your facial muscles and you will be able to consciously relax your jaw. This will help make you more comfortable for longer procedures.
These methods of relaxation are easy enough to learn that your child could practice them, and yet they are effective enough to control mild to moderate adult anxiety. All of these methods of relaxation are quite subtle. Your dentist may think you are taking a deeper breath occasionally, or may notice that your body relaxes more deeply into the chair, but these are all signs of a relaxed patient, not an anxious person. Of course, you should not hesitate to tell your dentist about your anxiety, because they may have more suggestions for you to try.