The Dentist Advises…
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Relieving anxiety and physical tension
ANXIETY and physical tension go hand-in-hand, and they both contribute to make a dental visit seem to be a burden.
However, by using some simple relaxation techniques, you can greatly reduce your physical tension and, in turn, reduce any anxiety you may feel.  These self-help techniques can be used both before the office visit and during the visit to increase your level of comfort. When necessary, such as cases where you suffer from panic disorder,  your doctor or dentist can also provide medication to reduce your anxiety.
One simple exercise to help you become physically relaxed involves concentrated breathing, and relaxing groups of muscles until your whole body is calm. You can easily do this by following these simple steps:
1. Inhale slowly and count to four in one-second intervals. As you are counting, introduce words like ‘calm’, ‘relax’, ‘peaceful’, ‘serene’ and ‘tranquil’ in your mind.
2. As you exhale, count to four in one-second intervals, and let your face and neck muscles relax.
3. Repeat the inhalation procedure.
4. Exhale, counting to four in one-second intervals, and letting your shoulder muscles relax.
5. Repeat the inhalation procedure.
6. Exhale, counting to four at one-second intervals, and letting your arm and hand muscles relax.
7. Repeat the inhalation procedure.
8. Exhale, letting your stomach muscles relax, then your leg muscles, and finally your foot muscles.
Another way if facilitating mental and physical relaxation, and helping to combat anxiety is known as Guided Imagery or Visualization. With this method, instead of focusing on the treatment, paint a picture in your mind of another place. Visualize a warm, sunny day at a beach, or see yourself on a mountain near a stream or a waterfall. Hear the sounds of ocean waves, the sea gulls, and the laughter of children. Listen to the sound of the stream or waterfall. See yourself swimming in the water, and feeling wonderfully relaxed and refreshed. Get sand between your toes as you walk on the beach. Look at the incredible flowers around you on the mountain, and smell their perfume. Let your imagination take you away.
Another technique is to use the time during treatment to plan projects, meditate, or pray. Reassure yourself that you are in good hands, and that you have confidence in your dentist.  Relaxation not only helps you, but also makes your dentist’s work easier, hence resulting in greater efficiency.

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