Tips for Coping with Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety and dental phobia are common problems that affect many people; in fact, it is estimated that 9 percent to 15 percent of Americans avoid the dental treatment they need because of this kind of apprehension. This has all been made worse due to the pandemic; in fact, studies have shown that anxiety disorders among US citizens have been increasing.

If you have anxiety about going to the dentist, there are ways you can cope so that you can take care of your teeth and obtain the treatments you need. At Enlighten Dental Care, we are here to help you and have some of our own ways to help.

  • Speak up about your anxiety. When you make your appointment, share your nervousness about dental visits with the receptionist. Remind the team about how you feel once you arrive and ask for suggestions to help cope.
  • Ask questions. Having the dentist or hygienist explain everything that will be done beforehand can help with fear of the unknown.
  • Set a signal. A signal can be an important way to let the dentist know you need to take a break.
  • Talk about pain. If a local anesthetic doesn’t work well for you, talk about other options that could help.
  • Avoid sugary and caffeinated foods and drinks. High protein foods may help produce a calming effect.
  • Try deep breathing exercises and mindfulness techniques. Inhale and exhale slowly, and concentrate on relaxing your muscles and releasing tension.

To help patents relax and stay comfortable in the office chair, Enlighten Dental Care offers:

  • Blankets. These can help patients stay warm.
  • Headphones. These can block the sound of the drill or of scraping. Listening to music can also distract you and help the time pass more quickly.  
  • Therapy dog. Enlighten Dental Care has recently acquired a goldendoodle to be our new therapy dog! Animal assisted intervention has been shown to benefit patients in other health care settings, and our team felt that this would help many of our patients as well.

Communicating about dental anxiety and asking about solutions to help is the first step in having a more relaxed dental experience. Remember, the team at Enlighten Dental Care is here to help you have the most successful visit you can in order to improve your dental health.

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