6 Tips for Overcoming Dental Anxiety

October 21, 2022
Patience experiencing dental anxiety

How to Feel Comfortable During Your Dental Exam in Kansas City

Feel anxious before or during dental health services? You’re not alone! In fact, a study published in the journal Medical Principles and Practices found that approximately 36 percent of the population experiences dental anxiety, while an additional 12 percent “suffer from extreme dental fear.”

Regardless of which group you fall into, there are steps you can take to help yourself feel better about visiting your dentist. Some of them are simple and take only moments, while others require a bit more effort and pre-planning. Consider these helpful tips before your next dental appointment.

Tip 1: Meditate or Practice Yoga Before Your Dental Check Up

Recentering yourself and practicing meditation can help lower your stress levels to put you in a better mindset before your dental exam. Seeking relaxation and mental peace prior to your appointment can help you find relief from dental anxiety and tough days in general.

Meditation is a type of mind-body complementary medicine, and there are multiple kinds you can try. Guided meditation uses visualization of places or situations you find soothing, while mantra meditation asks you to silently repeat a calming word. Transcendental meditation involves repeating a mantra or sound in a specific way until you feel restful. And in yoga, you practice a series of poses while you control your breathing.

Tip 2: Choose a Dentist With a Dental Care Comfort Menu

Many patients’ dental anxiety is relieved when they can access a short list of options to improve their comfort during their dental exam.

The ability to watch television with your choice of movie or the option to relax in massaging chairs can help patients relax during their treatment.

Other dental care comfort menu items can include cozy blankets, eye masks, warm towels, and more. Find a dentist office that provides these services to help improve your dental anxiety.

Tip 3: Ask Your Doctor if You Can Take an Anti-inflammatory Before Your Dental Exam

If it’s the potential for pain or an achy jaw post-appointment that’s keeping you out of the dentist’s chair, being prepared with an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may help.

These gentle and common medications reduce gum swelling and relieve minor pains, which can not only help you feel less during your dental check-up, but also can help prevent the onset of pain.

Tip 4: Try Deep-Breathing Exercises to Quiet Dental Anxiety

Before you sit in the dentist’s exam chair, you can try deep-breathing exercises to reduce your feelings of stress and anxiousness. Even taking just a few long, slow deep breaths before your appointment can lower your blood pressure and promote a sense of calm.

Some people count backwards from 10 while they take deep breaths to help pace themselves during this exercise.

Tip 5: Ask the Dentist to Explain Every Step of the Treatment or Exam

One reason some people feel anxious during their dental exams is that they don’t know what to expect. Before the procedure begins, ask your dentist to explain step-by-step what will happen. Then, ask them to talk about the steps during the process. Even your dental hygienist can walk you through a routine dental cleaning in this way.

The simple understanding of what happens next can help quell dental anxiety, particularly if you’re undergoing a treatment or cosmetic dental procedure you’ve never had before.

Tip 6: Consider Anxiety Medications to Take Prior to Your Appointment

For dental patients with diagnosed anxiety or extreme dental fear, a prescription medication taken prior to an appointment can help them stay calm and comfortable throughout their visit.

To be eligible for such medication, you’ll need to speak with your medical doctor, who will go over your symptoms of dental anxiety before making a clinical diagnosis.

Make an Appointment With a Dentist You Trust: One With Experience and a History of Excellence

At E-Care Dentistry, we love seeing our patients’ confidence grow with their smiles. With a personalized experience awaiting everyone who walks into our comfortable office, our team is here for all your dental care needs, even if you suffer from dental anxiety.

Our commitment to excellence and our experience in providing care has led us to create a comfort menu for all our patients, which includes state-of-the-art technology in every exam room, like massaging chairs for relaxation and a personal television for distractions.

Our clients can lay back and rest during their dental exams with a cozy blanket and eye mask, rather than strain their eyes under a bright lamp in a cold, clinical environment. We believe in our patients’ comfort – and that’s why we do everything we can to help them achieve it.

Whether you’re looking for a dental cleaning or an in-depth cosmetic dentistry procedure, E-Care Dentistry in Olathe is here for you. Request your first low-stress appointment with us today.