Unfortunately, many people suffer from feelings of anxiety or dread before dental appointments. Dental anxiety may include symptoms such as sweating, racing heartbeat, or a sense of panic. For some, these symptoms are so intense they may skip their dental appointment altogether, jeopardizing their dental health.

How We Help

At White Rose Family Dental we do our best to make every dental appointment as stress-free as possible. From the waiting area to each exam room, we’ve designed our spaces to feel comfortable rather than clinical. We believe that communication goes a long way in alleviating anxiety. Your fears will not be dismissed at White Rose: from our friendly staff to a Dentist who takes the time to explain procedures and answer questions, your comfort is our utmost priority.

Regular dental cleanings and exams are a vital part of dental health at every age, so whether these feelings originated from negative visits during childhood or a bad experience with a previous dentist, trying the tips listed below can help you or someone you care for overcome fears and have a stress-free dental appointment.

1. Try relaxation techniques

Traditional relaxation techniques can be used leading up to your exam in the waiting room of your dental office and even in the dental chair during your appointment. Deep breathing and meditation can help calm your nerves ensuring you stay relaxed for your cleaning or procedure. The more relaxed you are, the easier and quicker your dentist or hygienist will be able to care for your teeth.

2. Use grounding exercises

Grounding exercises activate your senses and can help you focus on the present moment rather than your crushing anxiety. If you’re having racing or irrational thoughts about your appointment, try to identify five things you can see in the exam room or focus on 3 different types of sounds you can hear. Bringing your attention to the present through the use of your senses can help relieve anxiety-provoking thoughts.

3. Keep your hands busy

Holding a small comfort item, such as a small stuffed animal or beloved blanket, can help to ease stress. This can be especially helpful for children who do not know what to do with their hands during dental visits. Items like stress balls or a fidget toy can also be helpful distractions.

4. Use headphones to escape mentally

Listening to an engaging podcast or soothing music through headphones, especially during longer procedures, can be a great way to stay calm. Music can help reduce anxiety and pain and can distract from any distressing sounds of drilling or scraping. Talk to your dentist about bringing headphones before your appointment.

5. Ask about sedation

If you need something a bit more than traditional relaxation techniques, ask your dentist about using sedation. Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or oral sedatives may help you relax without putting you to sleep. Laughing gas is a safe and effective dental sedative when used properly. It is often used for pediatric dentistry. The odorless and colorless gas is administered through a mask mixed with oxygen. Laughing gas has a quick onset and recovery time.

If you are in need of one of these options, please call ahead so we can prepare for your visit.

6. Bring a friend

Bringing a companion to the appointment is a great idea for someone who suffers from anxiety. A trusted friend or partner can offer support and encouragement before and during your appointment. Their presence alone may be enough to help you feel more comfortable. Also, they can help get you home safely if you’re under the effects of anesthesia.

7. Talk to your dentist

And last but not least, talk to your dentist. Being open about your struggle with the dentist is a great place to start. A good dentist will be more than happy to work with you to create a plan that considers your specific concerns while addressing your dental health issues. Modern dentistry has many techniques to make you feel more comfortable and relaxed. Simply asking questions and discussing a treatment plan beforehand may be all you need to quell your fears and silence your anxiety.

In conclusion, trying relaxation techniques, grounding exercises, sedatives, bringing a trusted friend along for moral support, and talking to your dentist can go a long way in helping you to feel calm while at the dentist. However, if anxiety is causing you distress, and leading you to skip dental appointments, it may be time to talk to a psychologist or counselor. A mental health professional can help you address the underlying issues causing your anxiety and give you tools to help manage it.

To schedule an stress-free dental visit, call us today at (717) 822-0272 or click here to schedule your appointment.

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White Rose Family Dental
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