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How to avoid waiting room jitters

If you are prone to some nerves before seeing the dentist, you are not alone. Dental anxiety is a real issue for an estimated 180,000 Irish Adults. Whatever the reason, the jittery feeling keeps many people from receiving even routine dental care. There are several ways to overcome these fears and make your dental visit a very manageable and pleasant experience.

Here are some tips to help you combat the dental jitters:

  • Find a dentist that lets you feel in control. Ask a friend or co-worker for a recommendation.
  • If you are seeing a new dentist, consider making a “get-to-know-you” appointment to discuss your anxiety and build your trust level.
  • Get the facts about any procedure – sometimes what you imagine is far worse than today’s reality.
  • Be an active participant in your care – ask your dentist about his or her policy concerning sedation and general anaesthesia and what may be suitable for you.
  • Work with your dental team, so they understand your fears and can even develop hand signals to help communicate during the appointment.
  • Schedule your visit when you are not rushed or under pressure, as this will just add to your stress levels.
  • If the sound of the treatment bothers you, bring your phone and headphones so you can listen to your favourite music or podcast.
  • Playing some soft or classical music on your phone in the waiting room can also help to ease your nerves in advance of your treatment.
  • Visualisation of a beach, clouds or a place that has pleasant associations for you can help take your mind off matters at hand.
  • Focus on breathing regularly and slowly while relaxing your entire body.
  • Avoid coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages prior to a dental visit, as caffeine can make you more nervous.

Remember that regular dental exams can help to prevent minor and major treatment. So, the best cure for the dental jitters is visiting the dentist more often!

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Female patient being seen by her dentist

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