Some researchers suggest that half of all adults have some level of dental anxiety and five percent of all people consider visiting the dentist their worst fear. The stress can be linked to a number of factors including being a woman, having red hair, having pain from untreated dental problems or even having a history of panic attacks. Regardless of the reason why, conquering that fear in order to receive necessary dental treatments for health is a must.
Overtime many dental clinics have started to offer services to help their patients relax including stocking their waiting rooms with alcohol or offering sedation dentistry and spa dentistry. While those type of services may indeed make the process more pleasant, they come with inflated price tags. Individuals struggling to pay for dental care and relax may want to explore less costly options that simply are a matter of mind over matter.
Fortunately, there are a number of natural ways to reduce dental anxiety that do not involve drugs or manicures. Scientists from Sweden have now introduced more options to the mix (https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_122212.html).
Laugh it Off
Laughing has always been considered a type of medicine; the study of it is called gelotology. Humor is contagious and the process of laughing will naturally release endorphins, the feel good hormone. As a result, laughter can help naturally lower pain, boost the immune system, raise energy and can help reduce dental anxeity for those in need.
Scientists at the University of Gothenburg team had individuals suffering from dental fear to complete a questionnaire regarding their phobia. While group participants all embarked on a variety of ways to lower their stress level, researchers found that individuals who interacted with the dental team including dentist, dental hygienist and front desk receptionist using humor and laughter were best able to manage their own fears.
In the 1960s acid explorer Timothy Leary advised individuals to “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” The advice was supposed to apply to the counterculture movement, but the process of looking inward can help dental anxiety sufferings relax and brace themselves for the dental treatments needed.
Participants in the Swedish study said that positive imaging (such as calming internal dialogue, imagining dental treatment success and even silent prayer) were all techniques that helped calm frayed nerves.
Listening to music on a personal music device can also help timid patients relax and be able to receive the dental treatments they need. Researchers at King’s College London, London, UK, found that both adolescents and adults patients that listened to music during invasive dental care procedures were able to naturally reduce their levels of dental anxiety.
Regardless of if it is called prayer or thinking positive thoughts, the process can help an anxiety suffer gain control over their internal deliberation. By ensuring that the process is filled with optimistic view of success, no pain and visions of healthy teeth, patients can help ensure a better visit to the dentist.
The relationship is based on a philosophy that “thoughts become things” and is an imperative belief for positive vvisualization. The ideology has been tauted in numerous self help books and the secret is simple; individuals in the chair simply need to tell themselves everything will be alright and see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Researcher Jenny Bernson has said it best, “The study has shown that patients who adopt an optimistic mindset cope with dental treatment significantly better and they visit the dentist more regularly than patients who spend their time in prayer, despair or catastrophizing.”
Individuals dealing with dental anxiety can learn to control their emotions by looking inward and by making sure to communicate any fears with the dentist and the entire staff at a dental clinic. By sharing concerns with the dentist and the dental care team know about your state of mind, they can take the ensure the visit is a good one. Individuals looking to find a dentist up to the task of calming their nerves and delivering dental care can count on WH Family Dental to help them with the task.