5 Tips to Overcome Dental Anxiety

At Joey Cazares, DDS and Associates, we know that dental anxiety is a real fear for many people. If you’re one of them, you don’t have to be ashamed about it. 

We want to do everything we can to make you feel more comfortable, because the more comfortable you feel, the less likely you’ll be to skip checkups and cleanings, and the healthier your mouth will be. 

To get you started on the track to overcoming dental anxiety, we’ve put together five tips you can use to overcome your fear of going to the dentist. 

1. Have an open discussion with your dentist

The first step to overcoming dental anxiety is letting your dentist know about your fears. Get specific and share everything you can. The more your provider knows, the more help they can give. You can even tell the receptionist when you initially book your appointment, so it can be noted in your patient profile. 

Tell your provider anything that concerns you, such as:

Furthermore, feel free to interrupt during your cleaning if you think of something you forgot to say. 

2. Distract yourself during your appointment

Sometimes, simple distractions ― such as music ― can help alleviate dental anxiety. You may benefit from investing in noise-canceling headphones that can silence outside sounds as you listen to your favorite music. 

You can also bring your phone or tablet into the exam room and watch movies or TV. You’ll just have to put everything away for X-rays, if you need them. Other tactics can include squeezing a stress ball, holding a comfort item, or visualizing happy images. 

3. Use stress-relief techniques before, during, and after

It may help to center yourself before you come to your appointment. Some people with dental anxiety find success in doing yoga, performing breathing exercises, or meditating before an appointment. 

Breathing exercises may be especially helpful, because you can employ them during your appointment. If you start to feel nervous, anxious, or stressed, take your focus away from the dentist and place your focus on your breathing. Long, deep breaths can dampen the physiological effects of stress and anxiety.

4. Consider partial sedation

If none of the above works for you, you may want to consider sedation dentistry. For regular dental cleanings and minor procedures, your provider may recommend nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas.” 

This gentle, partial sedative can make you feel relaxed and happy without putting you to sleep. It’s also a short-lived medication, so the effects will wear off soon after your appointment. Your provider may also offer conscious oral sedation or IV sedation, depending on the procedure and how severe your anxiety is. 

5. Know that your health depends on your checkups

If there’s one thing to keep in mind, it’s that your overall health depends on your oral health. Oral diseases have been linked to serious health complications, including heart disease. So not only is it worth attending your regular checkups to keep your teeth looking good, but it’s an important part of staying healthy overall as well. 

To learn more about overcoming dental anxiety, book an appointment over the phone with Joey Cazares, DDS and Associates today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

How to Extend the Results of Teeth Whitening

If you whiten your teeth, the last thing you want is to have dingy-looking teeth soon after. But how do you keep them white? Read on to learn expert tips on how to keep your teeth looking great.

How Can I Get and Maintain My Whitest Teeth?

Many products on the market claim to offer the bright white smile you crave. But do they work? The dental professionals at Joey Cazares, DDS, and Associates provide ways to maintain that beautiful smile between office visits.