By Health Day
If the thought of going to the dentist fills you with fear, a few simple steps might help keep you smiling.
For some people, a trip to the dentist triggers a problem called dental anxiety. Sometimes, this anxiety is enough to keep them from getting the dental care they need.
Since your teeth and gums can affect your overall health, it's important to feel comfortable going to the dentist. Here's how:
* Bring music. Load up your MP3 player with your favorite relaxing or distracting tunes. One study that included 90 people with dental anxiety found that listening to music during the appointment lowered their stress.
* Relax. The same study found that doing a brief relaxation exercise worked even better than music. One easy way to relax is to picture yourself in a place that you find more pleasant than the dentist's chair perhaps in a forest on or on a beach. Try to immerse yourself in the daydream by imagining the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations of this place.
* And finally, talk about it. Dentists are used to working with patients who have dental anxiety. And if they know you're worried, they may be able to take more steps to protect you from discomfort and bothersome noises while they clean and fix your teeth.
I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV, with the news that doctors are reading; health news that matters to you.
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