How to Cope with Dental Anxiety

Do you suffer from dental anxiety? If so, you’re probably wondering how you can overcome it! Here, we’ll explain what it is, what causes it, and how to cope with dental anxiety.

What Is Dental Anxiety?

Between 9 and 20% of Americans suffer from dental anxiety, a condition in which the patient feels excessively nervous or fearful about going to the dentist. They may even feel terrified and panicked about a dental visit. Dental anxiety and fear often causes people to do whatever they can to avoid going to the dentist’s office. Unfortunately, this usually means they don’t keep up with their regular checkups and cleanings every six months and only make an appointment with their dentist if they are in extreme pain or experiencing a dental emergency. Depending on the severity of your dental anxiety, you may find you have difficulty sleeping the night before your appointment, you cry or feel ill at the thought of visiting the dentist, and/or you feel uncomfortably anxious and nervous while at the dentist’s office.

Causes of Dental Anxiety

While the cause of dental anxiety is unique to each and every person, some of the most common reasons include a fear of pain, needles, or feeling helpless and not being able to see or control what’s going on in their mouth. These worries often stem from an upsetting visit to the dentist early on in childhood in which they experienced something unpleasant, such as great pain during a procedure or uncomfortable side effects of anesthesia.

How to Cope with Dental Anxiety

It can be difficult to completely rid yourself of dental anxiety, especially without seeking professional counseling. However, there are several ways to cope with dental anxiety. Whenever you start to feel anxious, take slow deep breaths through your nose and slow exhales through pursed lips. For when you’re in the dental chair, bring your phone and earbuds to listen to music, a stress ball to squeeze, or a loved one to keep you company.

We also invite you to talk about your fear with our friendly dental team to help us understand what makes you nervous. We’ll discuss ways we can help you feel more comfortable when you come in to our office for an appointment. For example, we could decide on a hand signal that communicates to us you need us to pause treatment and/or we can walk you through step-by-step what will happen during each phase of your visit so you feel more involved.

Visit Our Comfortable Dental Office in Austin, TX

Many patients find our office’s patient amenities help calm their nerves, from our our warm towels and complimentary beverages to our cozy pillows and blankets and the TVs in our private treatment rooms. Our team will do all we can to accommodate your unique needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at Southwest Smiles Family Dentistry!

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