8 Tips To Calm Your Pre-Appointment Nerves
Many patients feel anxious about visiting the dentist. For some, this takes the form of mild nerves when waiting for their appointment, while for others, even the thought of visiting the dentist is too nerve-wracking to face.
At National Dental Care Group, our aim is to help you feel as calm, comfortable and relaxed as possible throughout your visit. To assist in easing your pre-appointment nerves, we’ve put together some practical tips designed to reduce your stress.
While we can’t promise you’ll feel excited about your treatment, we hope they’ll make you feel a little less anxious about coming in to see us!
1. Plan your visit in advance
If you know you’re likely to feel anxious about your dental visit, it’s a good idea to schedule your appointment in advance, to ensure you book in on a day that’s most convenient for you.
By arranging your visit at a time when you’re not busy or trying to juggle lots of other commitments, you’ll be in a better and calmer frame of mind.
2. Discuss your nerves with practice staff beforehand
Our practice staff are trained in assisting anxious patients and are here to make your visit as comfortable and stress-free as possible.
If you suffer from dental anxiety, let staff know before your appointment - they’ll be able to provide you with more information about your visit, as well as advise you on our various anxiety-relieving treatments (more details on these below).
3. Be mindful of your pre-appointment food and drink intake
Stimulating beverages such as coffee and energy drinks are best avoided before your dental appointment, and the same goes for high-sugar food or drink. Caffeine, sugars and other stimulating substances can exacerbate anxiety, causing you to feel jittery and more nervous.
To ease those pre-appointment nerves, try a calming herbal tea such as chamomile or peppermint. In addition, be sure to stay hydrated by drinking enough water so you don’t feel dehydrated when you arrive at the practice.
It’s generally a good idea to have eaten before your appointment, as you may be numb afterwards and have trouble eating. This also avoids potential complications from low blood sugar and stress.
4. Arrive in good time for your appointment
Running late can make any of us feel stressed - so if you’re already feeling anxious about your dental appointment, rushing against the clock to make it to the practice on time is only going to make things worse.
Aim to get to the clinic a little early, so you have plenty of time to settle in and calm your nerves before your appointment. If you’re visiting a practice for the first time, our staff will be happy to provide information on directions and parking so you know where to go.
5. Practice calming breathing exercises while you wait
When you’re sitting in the waiting room, it’s normal to feel a little anxious while you wait to be called in. This is a good time to practice some simple breathing techniques designed to reduce your stress levels and keep your nerves in check.
Box breathing is a technique where you breathe in, hold, and breathe out for a set number of counts. For example, try breathing in for four counts, holding your breath for four counts, breathing out for four counts, and holding again for four counts.
6. Be open with your dentist about how you feel
If you’re feeling nervous once you get into the practice room, tell your dentist about it - our practitioners are used to dealing with anxious patients and can take measures to ensure you feel relaxed and prepared for your treatment.
You may want to know more about what the procedure involves, how long it will take, and what instruments the dentist will use. Your dental practitioner will be happy to give you as much (or as little!) detail as you like to ensure you feel calm and ready.
7. Remember you can ask the dentist to stop at any time
If at any time during your treatment you start to feel uncomfortable, experience pain, or need to take a break, you can simply ask your dentist to pause the treatment. You can even agree on hand signals to use beforehand if you’re worried you won’t be able to communicate clearly.
We want you to feel as comfortable as possible during your procedure, so you always have the option to take a breather midway through your treatment.
8. Consider our range of anxiety solutions
If your dental anxiety is making it difficult or impossible for you to attend a dental appointment, National Dental Care and DB Dental practices offer a wide range of anxiety-relieving solutions designed to help you feel calm and relaxed throughout your treatment. Please note that not all locations offer every treatment below, so check with your local practice before booking.
Our anxiety treatments include:
● Happy gas: An effective and fast-working inhalation-style sedation option, which has the benefit of zero downtime and minimal side effects. Once inhaled, happy gas alleviates feelings of nervousness, making the dental experience much more comfortable and pleasant. You’ll remain fully conscious and will be able to respond to your dentist's request or directions.
● Twilight dentistry: Also known as IV sedation, twilight dentistry involves a sedative being administered intravenously before dental work is performed, creating a generally pain-free dental experience. Twilight dentistry can be a great option for anxious patients or those who are unable to tolerate the dental procedures.
● General anaesthesia: For people suffering from major anxiety or fear arising from previous trauma, going to the dentist can be an almost impossible task. In these situations, general anaesthesia - a combination of medications that work together to relax your body into a sleep-like state - can enable these patients to get the care they need.
To find out more about overcoming dental anxiety, chat to our friendly staff at your local National Dental Care or DB Dental practice. Find your nearest practice here.