Search this site.

site search by freefind advanced

8 Ways to Calm Anxiety Before
Visiting the Dentist

I don't know about you but having a dentist poke around in my mouth isn't my definition of fun.   Sound familiar?

Well, we're not alone.

Nearly half percent of Americans have dental anxiety.  In fact, 5-10 percent of these Americans are so afraid of the dentist that they avoid going even when treatment is necessary. 


8 Ways to Calm Anxiety Before Visiting the Dentist
8 Ways to Calm Anxiety Before Visiting the Dentist

Image Credit: Pixabay


What is Dental Anxiety?

Is the anxiety over visiting the dentist so intense that you find yourself losing sleep?    

If so, you may be suffering from dental anxiety.

But not to worry.  This anxiety, like all others, can be managed and even eliminated.

The key to overcoming dental anxiety is to prepare for the visit before you even make the appointment.  This will empower you and help ease your fears.

Use These 8 Steps to Calm Anxiety
Before Your Next Visit

Have a Little Chat with Your Dentist

You may not feel comfortable talking to your dentist about your fears.  But remember this. 

Your dentist works for you. 

Yep, from the moment you walk through those doors and settle down into that chair, and you're the boss.

Tell your dentist how you feel.  Come on. Just come right out with it. 

But if your talk doesn't make you feel safer and more secure, get another dentist.  After all, that person will be poking around in your mouth.

Remember that providing comfort and peace of mind should be your dentist's primary concern.

Use Bit of Sign Language

Found a dentist you like and trust?

Good.  

Now it's time to work on your language skills.  It may be tad difficult to speak to your dentist when your mouth is full of dental tools.  But it's crucial to be able to communicate if you're experiencing pain, discomfort or need a break during the procedure.  

Before visiting my dentist I made sure to work out, ahead of time, signals for: stop, when I needed suction, water, a break, etc.  

My dental anxiety fizzled because I felt a lot safer knowing I had an easy way to communicate with her no matter what.

Find a Distraction

Does your dentist offer distractions to take your mind off the construction site happening a mere two inches south of your nose?

I hope so because distractions are an enormous help.

Maybe your dentist has a television. Maybe the patient rooms are wired for sound via satellite radio?  If not, then provide your own distraction.  

Bring your favorite music. Don't forget those noise canceling headphones to drown out the sound of drilling.  Better yet, how about a soothing, meditative music session?

Speaking of mediation.  Using mindfulness meditation is fantastic for calming and centering your mind.

Breathe, Slow and Deep

Breathing is easy right?  Well, yes and no.  

Of course, it's an automatic action.

Air in. Carbon Dioxide Out.

But anxiety has a way of spoiling things.  But by using some simple, yet effective, breathing exercises can get you get calm before your next dental procedure.

Speaking of breathing deep...

You may also want to breathe in a calming scent of lavender essential oil which naturally promotes peace of mind for dental patients. 

Take a Time Out

Sometimes you just need a break.  When anxiety builds up and you begin to feel claustrophobic let your dentist know right away. Make sure you have a signal for this.  The half-time hand signal worked well for me, but you can makeup your own secret code.

Anti-Anxiety Supplements

If you're taking anti-anxiety meds and they are working for you, great.  But keep in mind that there are natural supplements designed to reduce anxiety.  L-Theanine, Valerian Root, and Omega 3-Fats are champion anxiety fighters.

Take a Little Nap

If your dental procedure requires that you be put under sedation, then this will definitely reduce anxiety.  You'll be zonked out, dreaming of all those yummy, sugary foods you shouldn't be eating.  And you'll be done before you know it.

If your anxiety is really severe, and no other anxiety reduction techniques work for you, ask your dentist about sedation dentistry.  But before you do that, consider...

Challenging Your Thoughts and Fears

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is clinically proven effective in lessening dental anxiety. That's because CBT arms you with techniques for facing and challenging your fears and thought patterns.

This study  showed that 79 percent of participants were able to get through a dental visit without sedation thanks to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  

Just so you know, there are other therapy programs besides CBT for calming anxiety.


Still scared of visiting the dentist?

The Dental Fears Research Clinic at the University of Washington provides counseling to both adults and children who are afraid of getting treatment. 



I hope this article helps you on your journey towards better mental health.

Bright Skies Are Ahead,




Feel free to reach out to me anytime:

Send me a message

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest 

Bright Skies Newsletter

Live Your Best Life Mental Health E-course

You May Be Interested In...





  1. Help for Depression and Anxiety
  2. [Anti-Anxiety Self Help]
  3. [Dental Anxiety]



Week 1

This first installment focuses on the link between exercise, diet and good mental health.

Week 2

I'll talk about the importance of using relaxation techniques to lift your mood and calm your nerves, which in turn improves mental health. 

Week 3

This week all about using self-esteem to improve mental health and overall well-being. 

Week 4

This final week presents ways to reduce social media usage. Studies show that over consumption of social media contributes to anxiety and depression.

Click here to start this free e-course!




Week 1

This first installment focuses on the link between exercise, diet and good mental health.

Week 2

I'll talk about the importance of using relaxation techniques to lift your mood and calm your nerves, which in turn improves mental health. 

Week 3

This week all about using self-esteem to improve mental health and overall well-being. 

Week 4

This final week presents ways to reduce social media usage. Studies show that over consumption of social media contributes to anxiety and depression.

Click here to start this free e-course!