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How To Overcome Dental Anxiety & Stay Calm at the Dentist

A woman holding one hand against her jaw looks nervously at dental imaging results as her dentist explains what they mean.

Many people experience dental anxiety. Unfortunately, it can often lead to delayed or skipped dental appointments, even if patients are experiencing dental discomfort. This puts your oral health at risk and increases your chances of developing dental infections and gum disease.

If you’re scared to go to the dentist, you’re not alone. However, it’s crucial to overcome this fear to maintain your oral health. Here are some effective strategies for staying calm while you’re sitting in the dental chair.

How To Get Over Dental Anxiety: 10 Helpful Tips

1. Understand Your Anxiety: Recognize the specific aspects of dental visits that trigger your anxiety. Is it the sounds, the fear of pain, the tools, needles, or a past bad experience? Understanding the root of your fear of the dentist is the first step in addressing it.

2. Communicate With Your Dentist: Your dentist is your ally in combating dental anxiety. Be open about your fears. A good dentist always puts patient comfort first and will adjust their approach to ensure you’re as relaxed as possible during your appointment. Sometimes there are workarounds that can be done to avoid triggers

3. Schedule Wisely: Choose a time for your dental appointment when you’re least likely to be rushed or under stress. Early morning or late afternoon slots can be less hectic for many people.

4. Use Anxiety Reducing Techniques: Before and during your appointment, use relaxation methods such as deep breathing techniques or visualization to calm your nerves. These practices can significantly reduce anxiety levels.

5. Bring Distractions: Listening to music, podcasts, or audiobooks can help distract your mind and ease anxiety. Some patients find comfort in holding a stress ball or a small object during their appointment. Additionally, some dental offices have TVs in the exam rooms to play movies for patients during dental procedures.

6. Regular Visits: The more familiar you are with the dentist, the less intimidating visits become. Regular cleanings and exams can help reduce the fear associated with dental appointments.

7. Bring a Friend: Having a trusted person with you during your appointment can make the experience less daunting. Ask a friend or family member to come and sit beside you during your dental treatment for emotional support.

8. Gradual Exposure: Start with simple, non-invasive treatments like dental cleanings every six months. With proper care, there’s every chance you won’t have to visit the dentist for anything more than regular check-ups. However, if you need something like a cavity filling or root canal, ask your dentist what you can do to prepare. Sometimes, ensuring your own comfort means bringing your headphones along or taking prescribed medication.

If you are on any medication, share that information with your dentist before undergoing any type of procedure.

9. Positive Reinforcement: Reward yourself after a successful dental visit. This positive reinforcement can help build a more favorable association with dental care.

10. Ask Questions: Feeling uncertain about what lies ahead and lacking control can lead to a sense of unease in all areas of life. This includes dental appointments.

The average person doesn’t know what a dentist does during check-ups or extensive procedures. Ask your dentist questions and to explain what they’re doing during your appointment. Sometimes, just knowing the steps that will take place can help alleviate anxiety.

Beyond Smiles for Compassionate, Whole Health Dentistry

If you’re researching, “How to stay calm at the dentist?” then you’re not the only one. Remember, feeling anxious about dental visits is not uncommon, and overcoming dental fears is a process. It’s okay to take it one step at a time.

The team at Beyond Smiles of Park Ridge is here to support you on your journey to a healthier, anxiety-free dental experience. You deserve a beautiful smile, and with these tips on how to overcome dental anxiety, you’re well on your way to achieving it.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our team in Park Ridge, IL.

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