dental anxiety

Don’t Fear the Dentist: 5 Ways to Ease Dental Anxiety

Whether you’re just a little nervous or completely terrified of going to the dentist, you’re not alone. Dental anxiety is extremely common in American adults. From bad experiences to a fear of the unknown, there are many reasons people are scared to go to the dentist. However, skipping dental appointments can have serious consequences on your oral health. 

At Sunrise Dental, we want you to feel as comfortable with dental work as possible, so you can maintain a bright, beautiful smile. We put together the following tips to help you calm your fears and get the dental care you need. 

Five Ways of Coping with Dental Anxiety

1: Talk to Your Dentist

Communication is key when it comes to easing dental anxiety. Remember that you aren’t alone—your dentist likely has plenty of experience with nervous patients and will be able to accommodate your needs. For example, we can work with you to decide on a signal for you to give when you need a break during a procedure, such as raising your hand. 

It’s also a good idea to ask questions. We’re always happy to walk you through a dental procedure you’re nervous about and let you know exactly what to expect. Understanding what will happen can help you feel better about getting dental work done. And you should never be embarrassed or afraid to speak up if you feel any pain during a procedure. Your dentist will gladly address the problem and make you feel more comfortable.   

2: Take Deep Breaths

Practicing deep breathing exercises is a good way to relax before a dental appointment. One breathing technique you can try is the 4-7-8 exercise. Start by placing the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth. Exhale completely through your mouth, then gently inhale through your nose while counting to four in your head. Hold your breath for seven counts before exhaling out your mouth for eight counts. 

3: Meditate

You can relax your mind while sitting in the dental chair with meditation. Close your eyes and pay attention to how the different parts of your body feel. Make a conscious effort to release the tension in each part of your body to help relax your muscles and calm your nerves. 

4: Exercise

Regular exercising can help you manage stress. Practicing a physical activity for at least 30 minutes each day improves your overall mood by releasing the endorphins that make you feel good. Exercise also helps you sleep better, which is important for managing anxiety. Plus, regular exercise even improves your oral health, especially when combined with regular dental visits. 

4: Distract Yourself

Taking your mind off of a procedure while it is being performed is another way to find relief during a dental appointment. Ask if you can listen to music with headphones during your appointment to tune out the sounds of the drill. You can also bring a stress ball or fidget toy to occupy your hands while you’re in the dental chair. 

5: Bring Support

You don’t have to face your dental appointment alone. Ask a friend or family member to accompany you to your appointment and ask your dentist if that person can sit in the room with you during the procedure. Sometimes having a familiar, friendly face around can make you feel more relaxed and comfortable. 

Gentle Dentist in Peoria, Arizona

Avoiding going to the dentist will only result in cavities, gum disease, and other complications. Overcoming your dental anxiety to keep up with regular teeth cleanings and exams will ensure that you spend as little time in the dentist’s chair as possible. The compassionate team at Sunrise Dental is committed to making our patients feel more comfortable during all their dental procedures. If you have any questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, give us a call at 623-487-4870 today. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (6/27/2022). Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels