If you have a severe phobia of the dentist, going in for a procedure like a dental implant can cause your anxiety to spike. It may also cause a panic attack prior to the procedure. If you are prone to panic attacks, it is important to try and prevent them as much as possible. In some ways, you prevent the panic attack entirely, while in other ways you are halting it before it gets too bad. Here are ways to do both.
Know the Signs of a Panic Attack
If you haven't actually had a panic attack before, but suffer from anxiety, you may not know exactly what happens. A panic attack does have some symptoms that are different from general fear or anxiety. When you know what to pay attention to, you can stop the attack from progressing any further. Here are the signs of a panic attack:
- Tunnel vision
- Feeling like you are choking
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Chest pain
- Shaking or trembling
- Numbness or tingling
- Hot or cold flashes
If you are showing any of these signs of a panic attack, you need to act quickly if you want to keep it from worsening. When you become accustomed to panic attacks, you know the first signs that show up. For you, this might be tunnel vision or heart palpitations, while other people get an immediate need to flee the current situation. One of the best things you can do to stop a panic attack in its tracks is by having reflective thoughts, not reactive ones.
If you feel like you are choking during a panic attack, don't react by thinking about choking or imagining the consequences. Instead, be reflective, such as telling yourself it is only your anxiety and you aren't actually choking. Another thought that might help is telling yourself panic attacks don't last a long time and that you will recover from it.
Distract Your Mind
This is easier said than done, especially when you are about to have a severe panic attack. Anxiety sufferers know that turning on music or watching television probably won't work. However, most people do have something that helps to distract them. The trick is to find what works for you. If you are feeling anxiety several days before your appointment, try different methods for relaxing or distracting yourself. This might be going for a run, participating in your favorite hobby, or walking down the beach. You may also find that you need to reassociate the discomfort your body feels just before a panic attack.
For example, if you feel the palpitations coming on, grab an ice cube and place it in one hand for as long as you can stand it. Switch it to the other hand, holding it until it starts to burn. Keep alternating as the feeling of the cold ice cube causes you to feel sensations aside from what the panic attack is causing.
Communicate With the Dentist
Before you go in for your dental implant procedure, it is important that you communicate your fears and worries with the dentist (like those at Crystal Dental Care). Be open and honest about your anxiety and history with panic attacks. Set up hand signals with the dentist so you know what is going on and when. Before your appointment, your biggest fear might be the fact that you will be helpless in the dental chair with very little knowledge of the different steps involved in the procedure. By choosing hand signals that ask the dentist to stop momentarily or let you know what is happening at that moment, you might feel more at ease.
Ask for a Sedative
If you are someone that gets panic attacks often, particularly before dental procedures, ask the dentist to prescribe you a sedative. You will generally take one the night before your procedure, and one about an hour before you head in to their office. This will help you relax so you get good sleep and should keep away severe panic attacks prior to your dental implant appointment.