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7 Tips to Overcome Dental Anxiety

Jun 07, 2023
You know that seeing a dentist is important, but what should you do if the thought of sitting in the dentist’s chair freaks you out? Here are some straight-from-the-expert tips on how to beat dental anxiety and start getting the care you need. 

Your voicemail is full of reminders that you're overdue for a dental checkup, and you know your teeth could use some professional TLC, but your dental anxiety stops you in your tracks. Now what?  

Whether you had a bad experience in the past or you're worried about potential pain, fear of the dentist can cripple you and keep you from getting the care you need. And that's where we come in. 

At Campustown Dental in Ames, Iowa, our team of expert dentists knows how overwhelming dental anxiety can be, so we're sharing seven of our favorite tips to help you conquer your dental anxiety and make your next dental visit a breeze.

1. Communicate with your dentist

Having dental anxiety can be isolating, but you should know you're not alone. Around 36% of the population struggle with dental anxiety and let it stop them from even speaking to a dentist. So, we make addressing dental anxiety a key part of our comprehensive services. 

We know how overwhelming your anxiety can be, so we prioritize building patient education and relationship building. Talk to us about your fears and concerns; we listen with compassion and take the time to explain procedures, making sure you feel comfortable and informed. We believe clear communication develops trust, which in turn alleviates your anxiety.

2. Choose the right dentist

Finding the right dentist can make all the difference, so don't go just anywhere. Our team specializes in treating patients with dental anxiety, and we have a reputation for being gentle and understanding. 

3. Use the buddy system

Having a friend or family member with you at your appointment can provide much-needed support and help the experience feel less intimidating. Plus, having a friendly face nearby can distract you during the procedure.

4. Find your zen

Think about how you manage stress when you're not in the dental chair — and apply those methods during your appointment. Deep breathing exercises, meditation, and visualization are simple strategies that can work wonders in calming your nerves. 

Take a few moments before your dental appointment to intentionally relax and focus on your breathing. Visualize yourself in a calm and serene place to help you feel more centered and less anxious during your visit.

5. Distract yourself

As long as it doesn't interfere with our work, distractions are recommended, even welcomed, when you have dental anxiety. Think podcasts, audiobooks, music, and TV shows you can listen to through headphones. Your mind won't be on what our team is doing, and you can drown out some of the noise from our tools. 

6. Schedule short appointments

If you're just starting to work on overcoming your dental anxiety, start by scheduling shorter, less invasive appointments. For instance, a basic examination and cleaning are much more tolerable than a root canal. 

This approach allows you to gradually acclimate to the dental environment and build trust with your dentist. As you become more comfortable, you can gradually increase the length of your appointments.

7. Consider sedation dentistry

When all else fails, sedation dentistry can be a game-changer. Talk to us about the possibility of using sedation techniques like nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or oral sedatives. These options can help you feel relaxed and calm throughout your treatment.

Overcoming dental anxiety is a process that takes time. Remember to be patient with yourself as you gradually become more comfortable. If you'd like more information about how we work with patients with dental anxiety, call our friendly staff at 515-292-7262 or use our online booking tool to schedule an appointment.