It’s very common to experience anxiety or general nervousness when visiting the dentist. We don’t want anything to get in the way of you receiving the dental care you need to keep your teeth & body healthy, so we want to help you be as comfortable as possible at your dental appointments.
There are many things both you & your dentist’s office can do to help alleviate your dental anxiety. We’ve compiled some ideas below.
Anxiety Relief for Patients
Here are some things that have worked for other patients.
- Arrive on time & avoid checking in too early. Less waiting time means less time anticipating/dreading what’s coming.
- Bring a distraction. Listening to music, podcasts, audiobooks, etc. while waiting can help you keep your mind off what makes you nervous. Some dentists even let you listen to those distractions in the dental chair.
- Anxiety relief techniques. Many patients swear by belly breathing, full-body “scans” & other meditation or mindfulness techniques before & during dental appointments to calm the body & mind.
- Get to know your dentist. Knowing what type of person they are or how they work can lead to mutual trust & understanding, which can only help the patient-dentist relationship.
- Talk about your anxiety. We’re not suggesting a therapy session in the dental chair, but simply sharing your thoughts & feelings with your dental care team allows them to help you alleviate your anxiety.
Providing Comfort as Dentists
Here are some things your dentist can do to help you stay comfortable.
- Narrate the procedure for the patient. Knowing what is going to happen & what sensations to expect can help eliminate surprises & manage expectations.
- Distractions at each chair: Similar to how you can bring your own distractions, many offices have TVs, music, & interesting art you can focus on instead of what’s happening in your mouth. Many dentists are open to changing the music or what’s on the television to make it more calming for you.
- Sedation options. There are a variety of sedatives, including anti-anxiety pills & nitrous oxide (laughing gas), that can help patients skate through dental treatment.
If you have any other techniques to share with other patients, or if you have any suggestions for things we can do in our office, let us know! We’re constantly on the lookout for things we can do to help our patients feel more comfortable & less anxious while in our care.