How to Cope with Dental Anxiety

Brunette woman wears a camouflage jacket and looks to the side anxiously

Are you one of the many dental patients that gets nervous when picturing yourself in a dental chair? If so, you may suffer from dental anxiety or even dental fear. Here, we’ll explain a few common causes of dental anxiety and discuss some helpful tips on how to cope with dental anxiety.

What Causes Dental Anxiety?

There are a number of reasons why you might suffer from dental anxiety. You may:

  • Have had a bad or painful dental experience in the past or heard from someone else about their bad experience at a dentist
  • Feel uncomfortable about not being able to be in control and/or being stuck in a chair unable to speak
  • Feel worried about the cost of the dental procedure or exam
  • Feel embarrassed about the state of your dental health

Whatever the reason for your dental anxiety, there are ways to overcome and manage your discomfort:

  1. Use Relaxation Techniques
  2. Relaxation, deep breathing, and mindfulness exercises can help reduce built-up tension. Some easy techniques include a body scan, which means tensing and then relaxing your body, one body part at a time. Another is to count your breath by inhaling and exhaling slowly for the same number of beats. When inhaling, breathe through your nose, and focus on expanding your belly, then opening up your chest. Then slowly exhale through your mouth, crunching your torso and shoulders toward your knees. Repeat. Before and after your appointment, try running through a few yoga poses. Whatever you choose, find a predictable routine that helps you clear your mind and calm you down.

    Dark-haired woman in a field of white flowers breathes in deeply as she tries to calm her dental anxiety

  3. Distract Yourself
  4. One of the best ways to remain calm at the dentist is to keep your mind off what’s happening during your appointment. This could mean visualizing yourself somewhere that you love, like your childhood home or a vacation destination. Or you could wear headphones to listen to your favorite music or an audiobook, play with a fidget spinner, or squeeze a stress ball.

  5. Utilize Our Amenities & Sedation Dentistry
  6. At Sohn Dental, we have TVs, soothing aromatherapy, warm-scented towels, complimentary beverages and snacks, WiFi, and soft blankets that you can snuggle up with while you’re in the dental chair. We also offer safe and effective dental sedation options to help you feel relaxed and comfortable during your visit, such as nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation.

  7. Talk to Us
  8. Perhaps the most straightforward option is to discuss your dental anxiety with us. Tell us when you book your appointment that you suffer from dental anxiety and we can make sure that we are sensitive to your needs. We can talk to you about what you can expect during the procedure or exam, and answer any other questions you have so you feel more prepared for the exam. At your exam, you can also ask us to establish a sign, such as raising your hand, to indicate to us that your dental anxiety is getting overwhelming during a procedure. This way, we can stop what we’re doing as soon as you become uncomfortable.

We are dedicated to providing you with the absolute best care and want to help you always feel at ease in our dental chair. Contact us for additional tips overcoming your dental anxiety and to schedule your next appointment at Sohn Dental, your friendly Southlake dental office.

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