How to Combat Dental Anxiety

Going for regular dental checkups is ideal for your oral and dental health. But dental anxiety keeps most people from visiting their dentists for checkups. There are many reasons why you can have dental anxiety. Perhaps your first experience at the dentist was a painful one. You may be nervous about having someone work in your mouth. Maybe you are self-conscious about the state of your teeth.


Dental anxiety harms your oral health. Being anxious can cause you to avoid dental appointments, leading to oral health problems. The lack of dental care can lead to problems such as gum disease.



Talk to Your Dentist About Your Concerns



Speaking up about your anxiety can make a difference. Anxiety can make you very uncomfortable and can worsen your situation. You can experience symptoms such as:


  • Panic attacks
  • Heart palpitations
  • Aggressive responses
  • Low blood pressure
  • Crying
  • Excessive sweating
  • Feeling faint


Talk to your dentist about the anxiety you are feeling. When booking your appointment, you can notify the receptionist about how nervous you feel. Share with your dentist about a bad experience you once had and ask how best to cope with the anxiety.


Do not hesitate to ask questions. Knowledge of what is going to happen can mitigate your fear. You can agree to signal your dentist whenever you need to take a break. If you experience too much pain with a local anesthetic, do not be afraid to tell your dentist. Some people have low pain tolerance, so do not hesitate to interrupt the procedure if you are uncomfortable.






Relaxation begins in your mind. You can try to take deep breaths to relax your tensed muscles. Close your eyes as you breathe in through the nose. Inhale and exhale slowly as you count your breaths. You can do this as you wait to see your dentist or during your breaks in the procedure.

You can relax your muscles by paying attention to your different body parts. Try to release tension from your body. You can relax your body from your head to your feet. Also, try to meditate by fixing your eyes on one spot and relaxing. You can do this before and during the dental appointment to remain focused and calm.



Moral Support



Having the support of someone close to you can help keep you calm. You can ask your dentist whether you can tag along with someone in the procedure room. Having moral support helps you feel relaxed and comfortable.



Anxiety Medication



Your dentist can prescribe an anxiety medication that can help reduce how nervous you feel. You will need to take it an hour before your appointment. Dentists sometimes use laughing gas or nitrous oxide. You can breathe it in during or before your appointment.



Sedation or Anesthesia



Conscious sedation can also help with your anxiety. You may need to take your oral sedative hours before your dental appointment. Doing so will help you remain awake and relaxed. If you have severe dental anxiety, you may need general anesthesia. Your dentist can only give you this if they have specialized training.


For more on combating dental anxiety, visit Smile Center at our office in Delaware or Sunbury, Ohio. You can call 740-417-9565 or 740-965-2451 today to schedule an appointment. New patients can call 740-306-0099.