8 Ways to Reduce Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety is not an uncommon feeling. With loud noises, bright lights, odd looking tools, and the discomfort of having someone else’s hands in your mouth, going to the dentist can be an overwhelming experience for some individuals. Despite these things, dentists and hygienists are there to kindly provide you with intentional dental care, and that includes doing whatever they can to ease your fears. So, if you struggle from dental anxiety, here are a few ways that you can try to combat those anxious feelings.

1. Start by admitting that you are afraid to visit the dentist

Often, people with dental anxiety will create a variety of excuses to avoid a visit to the dentist. If you find yourself avoiding the dental chair it is important to understand why and then to take steps to combat that. Dental anxiety can cause serious damage to your teeth if you avoid regular teeth cleanings and check-ups. It is important to acknowledge your fear, so that you can learn how to overcome it.

2. Find a trusted dentist

Ask friends, family, coworkers, or other individuals you trust about their experiences at local dentists. Finding a dentist through a trusted source can help ease fears about who you are entrusting your dental care to. 

3. Ask your dentist or hygienist to walk you through the appointment

It can be scary not knowing what someone is doing, or what is coming up next during a dental appointment. Let your dentist know how you are feeling fearful and that you would like them to talk you through what your appointment will entail. They can even show you the tools they will be using and what they are used for. Knowing what will be happening in your appointment can help ease a lot of fear.

4. Take a break

If you are feeling overwhelmed ask your dentist or hygienist if you can take a short break to do some relaxation or breathing exercises. 

5. Bring a friend or family member

Have someone join you at your appointment. They can wait for you in the waiting room, or join you in the dental office if permitted. Knowing that someone is there to support and encourage you can be a big help.

6. Bring earplugs or music

The sounds of the dentist can be one of the things that brings on anxiety. Ask your dentist if it is alright for you to wear ear plugs or use headphones/earbuds to listen to relaxing music during your appointment. Drowning out the noises of dental work may make your visit a less stressful experience.

7. Take your time

If you need to shorten appointments to make them bearable, let your dentist know. You may be able to schedule a series of shorter appointments so that you don’t have to come to the dentist for long periods of time. Slow dental care is much better than no dental care at all.

8. Practice good dental hygiene at home

Having a home dental care routine that you are confident in can help ease a lot of fears when visiting the dentist. Brushing, flossing, and eating right can all lead to healthier teeth, which results in easier dental visits. 

As you think about your next dental visit, identify if you are experiencing any dental anxiety and what steps might be best in alleviating that fear. Talk to your dentist about it and let him/her know what things he/she may be able to do to help. If you don't have a dentist, consider working with South University Dental Associates. Dentists and hygienists are focused on providing you with the best possible care, and that includes making sure you are comfortable at your visits.