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Between nine and 20 percent of US residents experience dental anxiety. That term refers to anxiety that is specifically experienced in relation to visiting the dentist.

It may have begun naturally with one person relating their painful experience after having some egregious dental emergency or it may have stemmed from television and film making fun of visits to the dentist. Either way, almost a fifth of the country dreads dental visits. A smaller percentage experiences a more serious disorder called dental phobia. They experience an irrational fear of the dentist and subsequently avoid going unless forced to by some emergency.

It does not have to be this way. If you belong to that one-fifth of the population or you just want to enjoy going for your annual checkup and your teeth cleanings a bit more, you can improve the situation.

1. Consult with your dentist before the appointment. Discuss your feelings of trepidation. Talk about what bothers you most about going. This lets you and your dentist form a plan to make your visit less stressful.

2. 2. Work out hand signals with the dentist and dental assistant before work begins. This lets you have a signal when you need them to take a break. You will lower your stress by having the ability to pause the cleaning or procedure for a moment to collect yourself.

3. Bring headphones and music with you that puts you in a happy mood. Make it something that you won’t be tempted to dance around to while listening though. Music helps block the sound of the drill and other equipment which creates a problem for many people.

4. Learn how to do deep breathing exercises. You can do this while in the dental chair to remain calm. People tend to hold their breath unawares when anxious, so focused breathing can help you relax.

5. Set an appointment time that creates no rush for you and means the dentist’s office remains quiet. This lets you walk into a peaceful situation and keep it peaceful.

6. Read reviews of local dentists like Carrollton Dentist that are known for a positive, enjoyable environment and working with patients to create the best possible environment for them to receive the dental care they need. If you feel anxious about visiting the dentist, you have company.

Nearly 20 percent of the US feels the same way, but each of you can do something about it. You can maintain your dental health, beautiful smile, and your peace of mind by phoning your dentist to discuss strategies to help you handle – even enjoy – your dental visit.