Rumor has it that nine to 15 percent of all American adults have some level of dental anxiety that prevents them from seeking regular dental care from their dentist. While some of the fear can be linked to genetic issues such as having red hair the tension has also been linked to other conditions such as negative experiences, feelings of helplessness and general embarrassment surrounding the less than attractive results caused by dental neglect.
Although dentists have a myriad of tools such as sedation dentistry and spa dentistry to help make the prospect of visiting a dental clinic more enticing, some frightened patients may not want to rely on chemicals or bells and whistles to overcome their issues. Fortunately, there are a number of natural ways to reduce dental anxiety that do not involve drugs or manicures.
For thousands of years acupuncture, the Easter medicinal practice of treating issues via the insertion and manipulation of needles on various pressure points, has been practiced by a myriad of cultures. The popular alternative medicine has been successfully used to treat pain and nausea and has been accredited with a number of miracles including conception and for being able to replace anesthesia in the operating room. Newer research has also found that the medicinal practice is successful in naturally lowering dental anxiety in nervous patients.
The findings were unearthed by European practitioners of the craft and published in Acupuncture in Medicine in 2010. The research, conducted in both England and Denmark, involved a total of 20 patients (16 women and four men) who had reported having moderate or extreme levels of dental anxiety via a Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) questionnaire. Patients ranked their anxiety levels prior to the needle application and after the devices were professionally placed in two strategic points on the top of their heads, they rated their tension again. After the needle placement the average BAI score dropped by more than half from 26.5 to around 11.5.
Although Western Medicine often questions the validity of historical practices, there are some qualified dentists specifically trained in the use of acupuncture. Individuals wanting to rely on this type of natural cure to lower dental anxiety can call WH Family Dental to get the contact information for a professionally trained and licensed dentist who also has a background in Eastern practices.
Listen to Music
Timothy Leary infamously encouraged individuals “Turn on, tune in, drop out” in 1967. While the American psychologist and writer and LSD fan choose those words to influence the counterculture movement, the practice of tuning into music and dropping out of the reality of a dental office can help timid patients relax and be able to receive the dental treatments they need.
One study conducted at King’s College London, London, UK, found that both adolescents and adults patients that listed to music during invasive dental procedures were able to naturally reduce their levels of dental anxiety. The study used two groups of patients undergoing root canal; a control group of non-music listening patients and music listeners. All group participants had their anxiety levels measured before and after treatment and had their heart rate, blood pressure and finger temperature measured every 10 minutes until the dental work was complete. The findings showed that individuals who had tuned out had both higher finger temperatures and a lowered anxiety scores.
Breathe in the Air
Labored breathing is just one potential side effect of dental anxiety. That shallow, crazy-fast breathing can cause an imbalance in a bodies’ carbon dioxide and oxygen and can cause a vicious cycle of more panicked breathing and even hyperventilation. Some research has indicated that the process can lower CO2 which has been found to be a trigger of panic attacks.
Fortunately, individuals can train themselves to focus on controlling this element and concentrate on taking deep, slow and regulated breathing to lower stress levels. The right type of breathing “…shifts the body’s balance of carbon dioxide to oxygen in favor of energizing oxygen,” and help return the body to a more balanced state of being (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/08/tips-for-better-skin_n_952751.html#s352656&;title=Practice_Deep_Breathing).
Individuals dealing with dental anxiety can tap into these natural remedies and use one other tool to manage the task more effectively, communication. By letting a dentist and the dental care team know about your fragile condition, they will take the extra precautions to make sure not the dental clinic visit is a good one. Individuals looking to find a dentist up to the task of calming their nerves and delivering dental care can count on WH Family Dental to help them with the task.