Easing Dental Anxiety: Coping Methods that Can Help

Easing Dental Anxiety: Coping Methods that Can Help

Dental anxiety is a common problem. This fear prevents people from visiting the dentist for regular checkups and necessary dental procedures. This fear also interferes with dental procedures. If you have dental anxiety, this blog is for you.

Speak up about your fears

Being open and honest with your dentist about your dental fears can help him, or her make your experience as comfortable and pleasant as possible. Since your dentist is trained and skilled in the work that they do, they are equipped to help you feel comfortable and relaxed during your treatment. Always let your dentist know if you have dental anxiety or fear so that they can help reassure you and make you feel more at ease and calm. Many dentists understand and are willing to work with patients to help minimize their sense of anxiety and discomfort. This way, you can work together to have the best possible experience during your appointment. Additionally, being prepared for your visit can help reduce your anxiety as well. Being prepared and knowing what to expect can help you feel more relaxed. If there are certain aspects of dental care that lead you to feel uncomfortable, try discussing this with your dentist ahead of time so that you can have the best experience possible at your next appointment. Going to the dentist regularly for routine checkups is also a great way to ensure that your teeth are healthy and avoid the need for more extensive dental treatments. By keeping your teeth in good condition and avoiding cavities and other serious oral health issues, you can avoid many future appointments, helping to reduce your stress levels the next time you go to the dentist. 

Agree on a signal

Let your dentist know when you feel uncomfortable during a procedure. It can be something simple such as a raised hand, or it can be a specific word like “stop.” Once your practitioner knows you need a break, they will stop the treatment until you are more comfortable.

If you have severe dental anxiety, let your dentist know so that you can arrange the appointment in a way that makes you the most comfortable. This means scheduling your appointment for early in the day, so you have less time to think about the procedure before it begins. It also means making sure you are home alone so you won’t have to deal with other patients in the office.

Take a trusted person with you

It’s helpful to have someone you know and trust there with you. This person will be able to remind you of any anxiety-reducing techniques you’ve used in the past or talk to you about anything else besides the procedure that is going on at the moment. They can even hold your hand to give you the reassurance and comfort that you need. Make sure you clearly communicate with your dentist and their team ahead of time about who this person will be and what role they’ll be playing in your treatment.

Bring distractions

Distractions can be helpful. They can help you get through an uncomfortable procedure or lengthy appointment. Consider bringing a book, music device, or tablet with you. You could even bring a friend to talk to to help pass the time and keep your mind off of what’s to come. If your dentist permits it, you could even wear headphones and relax with music.

Relaxation techniques can also help ease your anxiety during a dental visit. Practice deep breathing exercises to help you relax. You can also try visualization exercises where you imagine a relaxing scene like a beach or the woods. Counting slowly can help reduce the anxiety that comes with anticipating a procedure. 

Consider sedation dentistry

If you’ve tried everything to make your appointment more comfortable and you still dread it, then consider sedation dentistry. Sedation can help you relax while you get treatment, so you can feel more relaxed during future appointments as well. Talk with your dentist about your options. For mild forms of sedation, you may be able to have a pill or a drink to relax you. For more involved procedures, you may need intravenous medication to help you relax and not remember your procedure at all. Ask your dentist which option is best for you.

To learn more, schedule a consultation with one of our dentists today! We would be happy to discuss these treatments and determine which one is right for you. Call 925-292-1459 and book your appointment.


3183 Independence Dr, Livermore, CA 94551

Office Hours

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TUE Closed

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Get in Touch

Email: ayspunde@lbl.gov

Phone: (925) 292-1459