7 Ways to Overcome Dental Anxiety

man with dental anxiety looking nervous

Everyone needs to see the dentist. But that doesn’t mean everyone looks forward to it. In fact, the majority of Americans experience some form of dental anxiety. If you feel stress at the prospect of visiting the dentist, you’re not alone. But there are things you can do to help yourself.

Here are seven easy steps you can take to help cut down on your dental anxiety, and feel better about going to the dentist:

1. Listen to music or a podcast while you’re in the dental chair.

Whether you’re there for a cleaning or a cavity, listening to your favorite music or podcast is a great way to relax and tune out the sound of dental work. It will also help you associate going to the dentist with something you already like, which helps decrease anxiety for future visits.

2. Take deep breaths.

Mindful breathing techniques, like counting as you breath in and out, decreases anxiety and boosts oxygen to the brain. When people feel tense they often don’t breathe deeply enough, which limits oxygen to the brain and increases anxiety.

3. Choose an appointment time that works best for your schedule.

Some people prefer to schedule dentist appointments in the morning so they’re not dreading it the whole day, but some people might feel more relaxed in the late afternoon, after a full day at work. Schedule your appointment for whatever time of day works best for you.

4. Communicate with your dentist.

Going to the dentist is not a one-way street. It’s important to make sure your dentist knows if you’re feeling anxious. Ask your dentist to explain everything they are doing before they do it, to help you better understand the procedure.

5. Watch your diet the day of your appointment.

Stay away from caffeinated drinks and sugary food which will increase your blood sugar levels and cause your heart to beat faster, thereby making your anxiety worse.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask for breaks.

Some dental procedures can last a while. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, there’s nothing wrong with asking your dentist to pause for a minute so you can relax.

7. If possible, ask a loved one to go with you to your appointment.

Having a calming presence nearby can help lower anxiety levels. If the thought of driving to the dentist makes you anxious, ask your loved one to drive you there and back.

Remember, if you worry about going to the dentist, you are not alone. But don’t let your anxiety prevent you from getting the care you need. Contact our friendly office staff today at (847) 639-9080 to make an appointment!


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