Tips for relieving dental anxiety

Dental anxiety can make it difficult for you to receive appropriate dental care. If you’re extremely anxious or experience panic attacks or a severe gag reflex at the dentist, sedation dentistry might be a good solution for you. If your anxiety is less severe, other methods might also be helpful.

Meditation. Just focusing on something else while you’re in the dentist’s chair can take your mind off the cause of your anxiety. Formal meditation isn’t always necessary—just counting your breaths or reciting lists in your head can lower the anxiety quotient enough for you to be more comfortable.

Focused breathing exercises. Taking long, slow breaths will naturally calm you down, but be careful not to hyperventilate. This might be more difficult during your exam, so use this technique to ease your anxiety in the waiting room.

Bring music. In some dental offices, you can bring your own music to listen to while you’re being worked on. Ask your dentist if this might be an option for you. A background of familiar tunes can help ground your emotions.

Talk to the dentist ahead of time. Sometimes just knowing what is going to happen can help you calm down. If you have any questions about an oral surgery procedure or anything else you need to have done, take some time to talk everything through with your dentist or surgeon. When you know what to expect, your anxiety might dial itself down.

Use sedation dentistry. Sedation is commonly used in situations where you might need a little extra help to be comfortable during a procedure, but where general anesthesia is unnecessary. Oral surgery is often accompanied with sedation along with local anesthetic. You can also ask about sedation while you’re having fillings or crowns placed. If anxiety causes you to have a very sensitive gag reflex, sedation might even be necessary for regular cleanings and examinations.

With all these tools at your disposal, you’ll be more likely to be calm and relaxed during your next visit to the dentist. If you have problems with dental anxiety, be sure to discuss them so you and your dentist can determine the best approach for you.

Call us today if you have any questions regarding our sedation options.

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