Just about anyone who has ever been to a dentist can attest to feeling anxiety while in the dental chair, especially if they’re getting ready for root canal treatment. In fact, this is a major reason why people avoid going to the dentist.
Fear and anxiety raise our blood pressure and pulse rates, and increase our breathing to the point of hyperventilation. Even the calmest person can feel a sense of anxiety during a dental visit.
Are we destined to live in constant fear of the dental office?
4 Ways a Patient Can Reduce Anxiety During a Root Canal Procedure
People who experience fear and anxiety during dental procedures, like a root canal or filling, don’t have to be slaves to these feelings. Here are three natural ways to reduce anxiety associated with root canals or other dental procedures.
- Meditation and Visualization. Meditation can be practiced before and during a dental procedure. It can be as simple as spending 5-10 minutes in a quiet space and focusing on your breathing. Steady breathing has been shown to reduce heart rates dramatically.
But it is important to avoid unreasonable expectations. If you are a fairly shallow breather to begin with, or easily hyperventilate in stressful situations, five minutes of deep, steady breathing before a dental procedure won’t help that much. Try a daily practice of deep, steady breathing for 5-10 minutes twice per day for a week before your dental procedure. By the time the scheduled appointment arrives, you’ll be better able to steady your breathing during the procedure.
Visualization can also be effective. Create a beautiful, happy place in your mind. Or, visualize going into the dental office and having a wonderful, serene experience. Imagine the procedure going smoothly and with little discomfort. And, most importantly, visualize yourself remaining calm the entire time.
Do this regularly before the procedure. You’ll be better able to reduce your anxiety and cope during your root canal.
- Music. Music can soothe aggravated nerves. Not only is it able to calm, it can help drown out some of the noises of the dental procedure, which can contribute to emotional discomfort.
Find music that works for you. The “right music” varies from person to person. One may like New Age, another Classical, while another finds comfort in Classic Rock.
- Scents. Aromatherapy is a great tool for reducing anxiety. Pure, essential oils generally work the best. Some oils that can reduce anxiety during a root canal include: lavender, rose geranium, chamomile, jasmine, sandalwood and ylang ylang.
- Gain knowledge. It may put your mind at ease to learn about the most common myths about root canal procedures. Most fears around pain and health risks have been debunked. Read our article about the most common myths to learn about how advancements in technology have reduced health risks and made modern root canal procedures painless.
The Importance of the Right Root Canal Specialist
One of the best ways to reduce dental anxiety is to find a dental office that is supportive and compassionate. A dentist and dental staff who exhibits these qualities—like those here at Fifth Avenue Endodontics—contributes to a calm and safe atmosphere in the dental office.
Choosing the right dental office, empowering yourself with knowledge, and employing anxiety reducing techniques will help make your dental procedure, even a root canal, a less stressful experience.