How to Deal with Dental Anxiety

Dental Anxiety - Woman Looking Nervous

At Cleveland Smile Center, one of our common themes is that “We cater to cowards.” Although we are dental professionals, we know that visiting the dentist can inspire anxiety and fear in patients. Fear of the dentist, or dental anxiety, is a common issue.

Although our team works to make sure to provide support and compassion when they are in the office, we thought it would be a good idea to provide some strategies that can help people deal with any nerves about the next dental office visit.

Aurora Treatment room

1. Do research about your dentist: One of the best places to start is to ask for recommendations. Your friends, family, or coworkers might have an amazing dentist. Some people even ask for help from friends on Facebook. Don’t stop there though. Look though the online reviews of a dentist and feel free to call their office and ask questions.

Do you have a child with dental anxiety? Find a dentist that has a strong pediatric dental practice. You can ask them how they cater to kids and what they do to make them comfortable. At Cleveland Smile Center, we help children have fun at our office and even reward them with special patient of the day recognition. All kids love to feel special and it makes the trip to the dentist even more rewarding.

Calm Dentist Working on a patient

2. Communicate what you fear about the visit: The dentist won’t be surprised to hear that you might be worried or afraid. You can openly discuss your concerns and fears. If you had a bad experience in the past, let them know. There are a lot of options in the dental office and knowing what types of things worry you will help them tailor their approach to make you feel more comfortable and in control.

Additionally, dentistry often involves working in confined spaces inside a patient’s mouth. In such situations where precision is key, having steady hands is crucial. A dentist with a calm demeanor has greater control over their movements, leading to better outcomes for their patients.

In short, when it comes to choosing a dentist for your child’s oral health needs – look for someone who exudes serenity.

Calm person wearing audio buds

3. Use relaxation and distraction:  Sometimes, a simple technique like deep breathing before and during dental visits can help you to feel calm. If the sounds of an office bother you, think about bringing headphones. You can listen to an audio book or your favorite music during your appointment. Focusing on breathing or music can divert your attention and remove some of the stress from the experience.

Ultimately, by demonstrating an understanding of pediatric anxiety and taking steps to address it proactively, a top-notch dentist can help ensure that every child has positive experiences at the dentist – setting them up for good oral health habits throughout their life.

Sedation Dentistry Consult

4. Ask about sedation: If calming techniques don’t work for you, ask about sedation dentistry options that can help you relax during dental procedures. Cleveland Smile Center offers sedation dentistry, which will make dental visits more tolerable, and even enjoyable.

Dentist taking a break to talk with patient

5. Take breaks: If you feel overwhelmed or gripping the dental chair for dear life, don’t hesitate to ask your dentist if you can take short breaks. This can give you a chance to relax and regroup before continuing with the dental procedure. Sometimes a bathroom break is helpful too!

Dental Checkup

6. Work on it gradually: With severe dental anxiety, it will take you longer to get comfortable. Think about scheduling shorter, less invasive appointments such as a cleaning and checkup. You can work on gradually increasing the length and complexity of the appointments if you need more extensive dental care. This approach will help you build trust with your dental team and gain confidence over time.

Dealing with Dental Anxiety

You are not alone. Dental anxiety is common. The entire team at Cleveland Smile Center is trained to work with anxious patients. By using these strategies, you or your child can learn how to deal with dental anxiety and stay on the road to maintaining good oral health.

Have a question? Reach out to us!

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