Dental Anxiety: Coping with Nerves at the Dentist

Closeup portrait young terrified girl woman scared at dentist visit, siting in chair, covering her mouth, doesn't want dental procedure, drilling, tooth extraction, isolated clinic office background

Dental anxiety is a real thing. In fact, dentophobia–the fear of the dentist–is a very real condition and it affects over two percent of the population.

That might seem like a small number until you realize that constitutes six million people.

So, don’t feel alone if the dentist makes you nervous. Dentists are used to patients who might experience dental anxiety–and any good dentist will know how to make the experience as pleasant as possible for you as long as you cooperate with them and do your part.

Here’s a few things you can do.

  1. Let the Dentist Know How You Feel

    It seems simple but many people don’t realize the importance of this step. The very first thing you can do is just to let your dentist know–tell the receptionist when you’re booking your appointment. If you’ve had bad dental experiences in the past, make sure to share them.

    Ask questions about your procedure. The unknown can make things worse–but if you know what to expect, it can go a long way in helping you cope.

    If your local anesthetic isn’t cutting it, ask for something stronger. Don’t be embarrassed. You’re getting your teeth worked on. No need to be a hero.

  2. Keep Yourself Distracted

    Believe it or not, it’s totally fine to use headphones at the dentist. Many people hate the sound of drills inside their mouth. Ask your dentist if you can use headphones.

    If you’re stressed, try bringing a stress ball or a fidget spinner.

  3. Try Meditation!

    Specifically, mindfulness meditation. Instead of focusing on what’s happening, simply counting breaths can go a long way.

    If it sounds nuts, there’s studies that show that mindfulness meditation techniques substantially reduce activity in the amygdala–where fear and anxiety are processed.

Want to know more? Call Gentle Care Dentists in Arlington, Virginia today to schedule your appointment.

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