How To Combat Dental Anxiety

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Andrew Slavin, DMD, FACS

Andrew Slavin, DMD, FACS

September 16, 2022

Did you know that dental anxiety affects one in every three people? Dental anxiety can severely affect your oral health and is often a significant barrier to receiving dental treatment. There are many practical ways to combat dental anxiety including:

  • Finding the right dental provider and communicating your fears with them
  • Practicing meditation and breathing techniques 
  • Bringing a friend to your appointment

Overcoming your dental anxiety will have positive long-term effects on your oral and mental health. If you are the one in three people who struggles with dental anxiety, these three tips might help you the next time you face a dental appointment. 

Find The Right Dental Provider 

Most dental anxiety comes from experiencing a dental procedure or appointment that was unpleasant at best and traumatizing at worst. Taking the time to find the right dental provider that you feel comfortable with and confident in makes all the difference. When searching for the right dental care provider, look for a calming dental practice with friendly and caring staff, great patient reviews, a relaxing and comfortable office atmosphere, and personalized care treatments. If your current dental provider does not have these things, it may be time to find a new one. 

After you find the right dental care provider, it is important to communicate your fears with them. Communicating with your dentist can help them take the necessary steps to make your process easier and experience smoother. You can ask your dental care provider to explain each step of your procedure from start to finish, so you know what to expect. Understanding the process and having a comfortable relationship with your dentist can help ease dental anxiety. 

Practice Meditation 

Practicing meditation helps roughly 64% of people with any type of anxiety. Meditation, a method of clearing the mind in order to relax, is a simple routine that you can practice in the dental office waiting room to reduce stress and encourage calmness. You can practically apply meditation by taking five minutes in the waiting room to close your eyes and allow your mind and body to relax completely. It may also help to practice focused and slow breathing techniques to alleviate symptoms of dental anxiety. You can use meditation and breathing techniques to combat stress, whether it’s in the waiting room or the operating chair.

Bring (Or Make) a Friend

If your dentist allows it, bringing a friend or family member to your dental appointment may relieve your dental anxiety. The presence of a friend may help you feel safe and secure even in an unfamiliar environment and combat dental anxiety. If your dental office doesn’t allow extra people at your appointment, then you can also attempt to make a friend at your dental appointment. The other people in the waiting room may be experiencing dental anxiety, too (one in three of them, to be exact). Striking up a conversation with the people around you may relieve dental stress for you and them. You never know when a kind word or warm smile might help someone combat dental anxiety.

In Conclusion…

If you struggle with dental anxiety, then you’re not alone. In fact, one in three people struggles with dental anxiety. Thankfully, there are many tips and tricks that can help combat dental anxiety. Finding the right dental care provider that helps you feel relaxed, safe, and heard is one of the most important things you can do to help combat dental anxiety. Practicing meditation and breathing techniques can also boost relaxation and alleviate anxiety symptoms. Lastly, bringing a friend or making a friend at your appointment can help with ease and comfort. It’s important not to let one bad dental experience dictate the rest. The first step to combating dental anxiety is to find a dental care provider that understands your fears and wants to provide a safe environment for you.

Andrew Slavin, DMD, FACS

Andrew Slavin, DMD, FACS

Hello there, great choice moving towards the personal dental health care you desire!

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