Easing Dental Anxiety: Coping Methods that Can Help

Posted by Gregg L Lage Mar 31, 2023

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Dental phobia is a common phenomenon, especially among children. Dental fear can be for many reasons. For some, it can be because of the fear of pain; for others, it can be the fear that the procedure will be painful; for others, it can be the fear of being judged or mocked, and so on. Dental fear can be so intense that some people may even avoid going to the dentist altogether. Dental fear can cause serious complications. The condition of the teeth can deteriorate, and the risk of gum diseases and tooth decay increases. Moreover, without regular dental checkups, you can miss the state of your oral health, which can create problems that are irreparable.

Discuss your fear with your dentist

Your dentist will understand your anxiety and will do everything possible to help you overcome it. They’ll listen to what causes you to be afraid and come up with ways to alleviate those fears so you can have a relaxing visit every time you need treatment. If you’ve let your anxiety go too long or you have a severe case, ask your dentist about sedation dentistry. This can help you relax during your procedure so you won’t experience any pain at all. Keep in mind that you’ll still be awake but will be more relaxed than you’ve ever been at the dentist’s office before.

Our dentists are committed to providing gentle care for every patient, from the youngest to the oldest. Whether you need a general cleaning or a root canal, we’ll make sure you feel at ease. 

Agree on a signal

If you’re afraid or anxious during a procedure, raise your hand to signal your dentist that you need to take a break. This will let your dentist know that you’re uncomfortable or in pain so they can stop the procedure and give you some relief. However, be sure to only use this when you absolutely need it! 

Take a friend or family member with you for emotional support

If you experience anxiety or fear at the dentist’s office, consider taking a trusted friend or family member along for support. You can also ask someone else to drive you to and from your dental appointment if you find it difficult to drive during the procedure. Having someone to talk you through the procedure can help relieve some of the anxiety and stress you may feel at the dentist’s office.

Bring distractions to occupy your mind during procedures

Dentists know that patients can feel nervous and anxious when sitting in a dental chair. This makes many patients need extra comfort and reassurance during their treatments. Some dentists may offer you headphones or a music player to listen to during your treatment. This can help take your mind off the procedure. Ask your dentist before your appointment if this option is available. You may also want to bring your favorite book or magazine to read. This can distract you from the procedure and help you relax. Remember that the more prepared you are for your visit, the less stressed you will feel. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the dentist’s office so that you are not in a rush to get there and can focus on your anxiety about the appointment.

Consider sedation dentistry

If fear or anxiety are making it difficult for you to follow through with your dental appointments, your dentist may suggest sedation dentistry to help you relax during your visits. Sedation dentistry involves the use of sedatives to make patients feel drowsy and calm during their dental treatments. One common sedation method is nitrous oxide (laughing gas), which wears off quickly after the procedure is finished. Other types of sedation include oral conscious sedation and IV sedation. Talk with your dentist about whether sedation is right for you.

Request an appointment here: or call Gregg L Lage DDS, PC at 303-427-4552 for an appointment in our Denver office.

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