SELF – Dentists Explain 8 Ways to Make Your Next Appointment a Little Bit Easier
Getting to the dentist is difficult for many people, and dental anxiety can be the culprit for many. Whether the idea of the dentist chair brings a pit in your stomach, feelings of panic, or simply enough irritability that you dread it, allowing anxiety to steer you away from addressing your dental health is problematic.
Unlike anxiety that can be helpful and motivating, anxiety that inhibits your ability to take care of yourself is considered problematic, and needs addressing. Generally speaking, this is true for any mental health symptom that gets in the way of your taking care of yourself. Dental anxiety that inhibits professional dental care fortunately doesn’t have to be something you tolerate.
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Call ahead to see what de-stressing options are available and appropriate for you.
For instance, if you’re so freaked out about having your teeth handled that you regularly put off or cancel dentist appointments, you may benefit from having some kind of short-acting anti-anxiety medication during your visit, licensed clinical psychologist Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D., tells SELF. “Being at the dentist can be uncomfortable, and even painful at moments,” she says. “But being afraid and anxious doesn’t have to be part of it, too.”