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Tips to Reduce Fear at the Dentist

Although few people look forward to their time in a dentist’s chair, many people suffer extreme fear at the dentist.

If you find yourself dealing with intense anxiety when it comes to visiting the dentist, here are four common tips to help ease your tension and fear.

1.Take Charge

Most of the time, visiting the dentist won’t be nearly as painful as you initially expect. By taking charge of your oral health and setting up regular visits with your dentist (rather than waiting until you have a serious toothache), you’ll be able to stay on top of your overall health and hopefully avoid many of the high-stress dental situations.

Taking charge might mean shopping around for a new dentist, especially if you’ve had a bad experience in the past. Calling and even visiting a few dental offices in your area can help you find one that is a good fit for you, which can make a world of difference. When you arrive at your dental appointment, be sure to let the hygienist know how you’re feeling. You can even raise your hand during the appointment if you need a break. Realizing that you’re in control of how the appointment goes can be empowering and help ease your fear.

Additionally, bringing a trusted friend or family member to be with you while you sit in the dental chair can be calming to many people, especially for children and adolescents.

2.Come Prepared with Distractions

Although many dentists and hygienists make small talk while working on your teeth, there’s nothing wrong with popping in some headphones and turning on a favorite podcast or some calming music. It’s also common for dentists offices to have TVs available, so feel free to call ahead and ask if this is something your dentist provider offers. Having something to watch or listen to is a great way to set your mind at ease while coping with fear at the dentist.

3.Practice Relaxation Techniques

Before you visit the dentist, practice slow and controlled breathing. One common technique is called box breathing. Breathe in for four counts, hold the breath for four counts; breathe out for four counts, and then hold the breath for the last four counts before starting again with a new breath. Become comfortable with this and other breathing techniques at home so that you can put them into play when your anxiety is peaking.

4.Discuss Sedative Options with Your Dentist

Not all sedatives are created equal, and not all dentists are comfortable using every form of sedation. Common sedatives include local anesthetic, oral sedatives, nitrous oxide (laughing gas), and even intravenous sedation. Talk with your dentist about what forms of sedation they offer and find one that best suits your needs.

Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah is Here to Help

At Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah, we understand that many of our patients deal with fear at the dentist. Our board-certified oral surgeons and incredible staff are ready and waiting to help make your experience the best we possibly can. If you’re experiencing fear or anxiety over getting a procedure done, please reach out; a member of our staff will be happy to talk to you about what to expect.

We have offices in Cottonwood Heights, Tooele, and South Jordan. Schedule your free consultation today.


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