Tips for Dealing with Dental Anxiety

By John Meola on September 05, 2017

A woman in a dental chair under sedation for dental anxietyGoing to the dentist is essential for good oral health, but for those with dental anxiety, the thought of a trip to the dentist may be worse than living with the pain of a toothache. Everyone deserves to have a healthy smile. At the Dental Associates of New England, we are proud to offer sedation dentistry to help patients feel relaxed, calm, and comfortable during any dental procedure.

If you need help dealing with dental anxiety, our Boston, MA team of dentists can tailor our sedation dentistry options to your needs to give you exceptional dental care in a stress-free environment. In the meantime, consider these tips to help deal with dental anxiety and get you back in the dentist's office.

The Symptoms of Dental Anxiety

The symptoms of dental anxiety may be minor or severe. For some, dental anxiety may manifest as feeling nervous and uneasy while others may find it debilitating. Some common symptoms of dental anxiety include:

  • Feeling physically ill, anxious, or uneasy
  • Feeling increasingly nervous as a dental appointment approaches
  • Feeling panicked before or during a dental visit
  • Crying at the thought of going to the dentist
  • Difficulty breathing

Tips to Help Deal with Dental Anxiety

If you need help dealing with dental anxiety, try these tips at your next dental appointment:

  • Be honest with your dentist about dental anxiety: By being open and honest about dental anxiety, your dentist can better accommodate your needs and provide options to ease your anxiety during treatment.
  • Consider sedation: Sedation dentistry uses medication to help relax patients and keep them comfortable during dental visits. There are different types of sedation methods, including nitrous oxide gas, which is inhaled, or IV sedation, which is administered intravenously.
  • Tune out dentistry sounds with music: For some, the sounds of a dental office can send dental anxiety into overdrive. Wearing headphones and listening to music can help drown out sounds, like dental drills and metal scraping on the teeth, as well as take your mind off of treatment.
  • Be informed about dental procedures: Uncertainty about what to expect during a dental procedure can cause anxiety to elevate. Asking your dentist to explain what is going to happen during an appointment can help reduce anxiety caused by the unknown.
  • Create hand signals for your dentist: Before beginning treatment, agree to a series of hand signals with your dentist to allow you to indicate when you need a break or if you're feeling pain.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques, like deep breathing or imagining you're somewhere else, can help reduce anxiety.

Sedation Dentistry Can Help

At the Dental Associates of New England, we offer our patients a variety of options for sedation dentistry. Using nitrous oxide, commonly called “laughing gas,” or IV sedation, we can adjust sedation levels to ensure each patient is comfortable during the dental visit. To learn more about sedation dentistry or other ways to relieve dental anxiety, please contact our team today.

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