Relaxation dentistry is dentistry that aims to help you relax during your dental visit. The goal is to soften or alleviate dental anxiety, increase comfort, and improve your overall experience at your dental care visits. Relaxation dentistry is something every dental practice should do, but most don’t, which is part of the reason why so many people have bad experiences that contribute to dental anxiety.
Stress is additive, meaning that lots of small stressors often contribute to our feelings of anxiety. The secret of relaxation dentistry is that, rather than knocking you out with a single, powerful chemical, the goal is to introduce a lot of subtle influences that reduce your stress and improve your experience.
Here are some of the relaxation dentistry techniques that you should look for at a dentist’s office.
Dentists don’t decorate their offices just to look fancy. A pleasant environment has a very real impact on your experience. A waiting room that looks less like a waiting room won’t contribute as much to increasing tension when you arrive or as you wait for your appointment.
The right art is also important. Studies have shown that looking at a piece of art you enjoy can actually reduce your discomfort.
There are many small comforts that dentists can introduce to help you feel more relaxed. The more comfortable you are, the more relaxed you will feel. These amenities can be something as simple as a blanket, or something more involved like a massage or aromatherapy to help soothe you. Distractions like TV or radio are also helpful.
This is a big one, and it can have a huge impact on your feelings of powerlessness or loss of control at the dentist’s office. You should talk to your dentist about your concerns, and your dentist should honor and respect those feelings. Your dentist should explain all procedures before performing them. And your dentist should ask for your consent to perform the procedure before it is done.
You should work out a signal that you can give your dentist to tell him or her to stop at any time. Often, just knowing that you have the power to tell your dentist to stop makes you comfortable enough that you never actually need to do it.
Your Role in Relaxation Dentistry
There are also many things you can do to help yourself relax during a dental visit. Teach yourself relaxation breathing techniques. Your body’s stress mechanisms are reciprocal. Partly you are stressed, which causes you to breathe more rapidly, but partly your body is reading your rapid breath and saying, “I’m breathing fast, I must be stressed,” so it ramps up the stress.
Controlling your breath helps circumvent this system, prevents it from growing out of control.
Another good relaxation technique is progressive muscle relaxation. Basically, you are tensing and then relaxing each muscle. This takes a while, but it’s basically like giving yourself a massage, and it can be just as relaxing. Remember: stress is additive. Stress you carry in your muscles and brain when you enter the dental office will add to the stress you experience in the dental office to create more negative impacts.
Understand what you can do to make yourself feel comfortable and in control. For example, some people feel better when they dress down in comfortable clothes or even pajamas. Other people feel better when they dress in their professional or nice clothes–it’s your uniform, your armor that helps you feel powerful and in control.
If You Can’t Relax on Your Own
All of these techniques will help reduce your stress levels at the dentist, but for some people it’s not enough. If you can’t manage to relax enough to have a reasonable experience at your dentist’s office, or if you’re looking for a more positive experience, NuCalm can help. NuCalm is a drug-free approach to achieving deep relaxation, peace, even rejuvenation at the dentist’s office. To learn more about the benefits of NuCalm for yourself, please contact a local NuCalm dentist today.