4 Tips for Relieving Dental-Related Anxiety

May 27, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — smilesforlifeteam @ 5:18 pm
Woman smiling at dentist in treatment chair

Does the sheer thought of visiting the dentist cause your heart to race? You’re certainly not alone. In fact, it is believed that as many as 20% of Americans avoid getting the dental care they need due to fear. Unfortunately, this can result in extensive damage to your teeth and gums, requiring even more restorative and cosmetic treatment (aka more hours in the treatment chair). Therefore, it’s a good idea to find some stress-relieving best practices that will keep your dental anxiety at bay. Here are a few tips to help!

Tip #1: Share How You Are Feeling

All too often, patients (especially adults) are hesitant to share that they feel vulnerable and scared in the treatment chair. However, your dental team wants you to have a pleasant experience at their office, and they will go above and beyond to make your time with them as enjoyable as possible. If the source of your anxiety is the sound of the drill, noise-canceling headphones can help you relax. If it’s the unfamiliar tools, then having your dentist explain what they are doing throughout your treatment can provide you with peace of mind. Whatever the case may be, sharing how your feeling is the best place to start.

Tip #2: Develop Hand Signals

Whether you are getting a refreshing cleaning, tooth-saving root canal therapy, or smile-transforming treatment, it’s difficult to talk with a mouth full of dental tools. To ensure you can communicate with your dentist at all times, develop some hand signals with them. For example, maybe raising your left hand can let them know that you need a break or that you’re no longer comfortable. You might be surprised how much having an open line of communication will help you relax.

Tip #3: Pay Attention to Your Breathing

Once in the treatment chair, patients with dental-related anxiety get so focused on what the dentist is doing that they forget to breathe properly! The decreased amount of oxygen in your system only adds to your body’s feelings of nervousness, which makes the experience more unpleasant. Therefore, try to be intentional about breathing deeply throughout your appointment.

Tip #4. Ask for Numbing Cream

More extensive procedures, like root canals, always begin with your dentist thoroughly numbing the area. However, if you are getting something more routine, like a standard cleaning, you can ask for numbing cream. That way, if the root of your anxiety is potential pain or discomfort, you can relax throughout your visit since you’ll have an additional layer of protection.

If you struggle with dental-related nervousness, then you know firsthand how unpleasant it can be to even get routine care. Fortunately, the above tips can help keep you calm, comfortable, and anxiety-free!

About the Author

Dr. James T. Gray graduated from the University of Texas Dental School at San Antonio, and he has spent the last three decades helping patients with everything from routine care to last-minute emergency treatment. Due to his clinical expertise, patient-driven approach to care, and passion for his craft, he has been able to change people’s perceptions of what it’s like to go to the dentist. And, if that isn’t enough, he is proud to offer nitrous oxide to keep your dental-related anxiety at bay. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team via website or by phone at 817-460-4131.