Tips To Help With Dental Anxiety at the Orthodontist

At Central Massachusetts Orthodontic Associates, we understand the stress some patients feel about going into a dentist or orthodontist’s office. You may have had a bad experience somewhere that made you apprehensive about returning for appointments. We strive to understand the needs and concerns of every patient to provide an easy, efficient experience while we work on keeping your teeth healthy. Dr. Giarrusso, Dr. Livanos, and the rest of our team have put together some tips to help you deal with dental anxiety at the orthodontist.

What Is Dental Anxiety?

In short, dental anxiety is when you associate fear or stress with dental work. Common triggers may include fear of needles, trauma from a previous procedure, and even just the sight of a treatment chair. Patients of all ages can suffer from this specific kind of anxiety, but don’t worry! Our team is here to remind you that you are not alone in feeling nervous, and we are well-prepared to help you manage it.

Common Signs and Symptoms

If you suffer from this condition, you may experience some of the following symptoms: feeling faint upon walking into the office or as your appointment begins, getting sweaty or overheating, having a racing heartbeat, being visibly distressed, or having low blood pressure. 

Have any of these happened to you in the past? Let us know at the start of your next appointment so we can take proper measures to provide an easy experience.

Communicate Your Concerns With Us

We can help you best when you share your anxieties with us at the beginning of your time at Central Massachusetts Orthodontic Associates. Our team is experienced in supporting patients with similar feelings, so we promise there is no need to feel embarrassed or nervous. Dr. Giarrusso, Dr. Livanos, and everyone at our practice work to create an environment that values open communication. 

We work with each patient individually to tailor their appointment to their needs and accommodate concerns. Any of our staff will be happy to answer questions and explain exactly what will happen during an appointment, so there will be no surprises waiting in the treatment chair. 

Have a Friend or Family Member Accompany You

Seeing a familiar face during treatment is another way to help ease any stress or discomfort you may have during an appointment or procedure. They can help you through any anxious feelings and assure you everything is going well. If you are worried about your appointment, we encourage you to bring a friend or family member so you can complete the goals of your appointment with ease. 

While you may not be able to respond in conversation to them, they can still talk to you and keep your mind occupied elsewhere while work is getting done to help your teeth in the right direction. If you are distracted by your anxiety during your appointment, they can also ask questions you may wonder about later.

Tips To Help With Dental Anxiety at the Orthodontist

Concentrate on Deep Breathing and Meditation

Deep breathing and meditation are well-known for calming your body down in times of stress and releasing pent-up tension. When concentrating on the sound of your own breathing, you can reduce the physical effects of dental anxiety on your body. 

Focusing on different parts of your body heightens your awareness of that part, thus reducing your attention on the work being done in your mouth. You can even practice these techniques at home to feel confident before your next appointment.

Bring Along Distractions

An easy way to keep yourself occupied is to bring something that will capture your focus. You can get headphones to listen to music, a tablet to watch something, or a stress ball to squeeze. Try each method to determine what works best for you. You can even combine any of these distractions to make them even more effective and keep yourself in control of your dental anxiety.

Depending on what needs to be accomplished during a particular appointment, double-check with either of our orthodontists to see what headphones or other entertainment equipment he recommends will work best while still allowing you to progress your teeth to the next step.

Guided Imagery

A common way to distract your mind is to go to your happy place. Imagine a memory or setting where you feel most at ease and try to transport yourself there. Try conceptualizing the sounds this environment makes, the people you would see, the things you would feel, etc. For some patients, this may be a calm beach with friends, playing video games, walking through nature, or playing your favorite sport. 

This switches your brain into an increasingly positive mindset and shifts your perspective during a procedure or appointment. If you have a small item related to your happy place, holding it in your hand may help add a sensory component and bring in a familiar texture.

Tips To Help With Dental Anxiety at the Orthodontist

Put Your Dental Anxiety To Rest!

Our primary goals are to help you efficiently straighten your teeth and provide a comfortable environment. The friendly and knowledgeable team at Central Massachusetts Orthodontic Associates is here for you each step of the way to ensure you are heard, and we are doing everything we can to make your experience with us a positive one! We serve Worcester, Auburn, Spencer, and the surrounding communities with our expert orthodontic skills. Schedule your consultation today and get started on treatment!