Dental Anxiety Help – 4 “Positive Outcomes”
In this blog series, Dental Anxiety Help, we’d like to introduce our guest contributor, Andre Perreault, LMHC. Every Wednesday we will be featuring his advice and helpful tips for people who experience anxiety, fear, and phobias about dental visits. Please check back every week for more – we will tag our posts with “anxiety” for quick reference when viewing in a feeder program. At the bottom of each “Dental Anxiety Help” you can find links to previous entries as well. If you’d like to reach Mr. Perreault directly, please call him at (617) 835-6581.
In your mind it can become an attempt at prediction. In worry people often cycle through thoughts, reviewing every possible item of concern and fear as though maintaining that level of focus will allow anyone to predict and prevent anything unwanted. This too is related to control and is actually quite a set-up for a bad experience at the dentist.
So tip #3 is to begin focusing on the positive outcomes of a successful visit to the dentist. Ask yourself the question; “suppose my visit to the dentist goes really well, what would that look and feel like?” Then mentally walk through the entire visit and imagine how it will go. Walk through this with some detail! Begin in the waiting room, end with the final rinse and spit. Imagine the dentist smiling, and then you look up and say, “That went very well. That’s the best visit I’ve ever had.”
I have one guideline for this exercise. Avoid using the word “not.” That includes “doesn’t, didn’t, wouldn’t, couldn’t, don’t, and won’t.” Walk yourself through the visit telling yourself how your best dental visit did go, not how it didn’t go.