How to Calm Dental Anxiety
Do you break a sweat before heading to your dentist’s appointment? Are your nerves on edge at the thought of sitting in that dentist’s chair? If so, you’re not alone. Dental anxiety is common, and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. In fact, there are things you could do to relieve your anxiety, so keep reading to find out what they are so your next trip to the dentist will be more pleasant than you ever thought was possible.
What Is Dental Anxiety?
Dental anxiety is — you guessed it — anxiety about seeing the dentist. It’s a common condition that affects approximately 36% of the population. Out of that 36%, 12% suffer extreme dental fear.¹ For some with dental anxiety, it could prevent them from going to the dentist unless they’re in such severe pain that they can no longer avoid it.
Signs of Dental Anxiety
Some signs of dental anxiety are obvious, such as sweating, a racing heartbeat, or visible distress. But there are also more subtle signs, including difficulty sleeping the night before an appointment, which some may perceive as an isolated incident, dreading a future visit, or subconsciously using humor to calm your nerves.
For some, the “why” behind dental anxiety is simple. For example, it may be because they had a negative experience with a dentist when they were younger. Or it may be a fear of needles or anyone touching their mouth, and these things could be exacerbated by “white-coat” syndrome. For others, they may not really know the exact reason.
Impact to Your Oral Health
If dental anxiety causes you to postpone your dental visits, you may experience the development or worsening of periodontal disease. Therefore, it is important to take steps to resolve your anxiety so it doesn’t negatively impact your oral health.
How to Deal with Dental Anxiety
Understanding why you’re anxious when visiting the dentist is a big step in helping to decrease your level of it, and below are some pointers to help you better deal with the situation:
- Practice breathing techniques to help slow your heart rate
- Listen to music (Our office provides music with headphones)
- Request sedation (We offer several types of sedation)
- Ask your dentist questions about the procedure; ask them to explain what is happening at every stage
- Take advantage of an in-house therapy dog (like our Bentley!)
- Visit your dentist with a friend or relative instead of coming alone
If you dread visiting the dentist to the point where you refuse to go unless it’s absolutely necessary, know that Longmont Dental Loft offers sedation dentistry for any procedure, no matter how big or small.
Whether the above mindful techniques are enough to ease you into the dentist’s chair or you require sedation to be anywhere near one, rest assured that dental visits no longer have to be as stress-inducing as they once were. Your teeth — and your health — will appreciate it!
- Beaton, L., Freeman, R., Humphris, G. (2013, December 20). Why Are People Afraid of the Dentist? Observations and Explanations. Nih.gov. Retrieved October 18, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5586885/#B1).