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Drills, needles, and pain, oh my! How do I cope with dental anxiety?

Sometimes, the mere thought of a dentist can trigger severe anxiety and phobia in some. Consequently, causing people to delay or even avoid dental care altogether. Unfortunately, this behavior can lead to dental problems, a worsening fear, and more expensive dental treatments down the road.

Some find dental appointments incredibly unpleasant. However, the good news is that it is possible to make the dental chair more manageable. Follow along for four simple strategies that may make going to the dentist a little easier.

1. Develop Coping Skills

If fear and anxiety about the dentist and dental treatments are the two primary reasons for not pursuing dentistry, consider taking the time to develop a unique set of skills that helps you cope during treatment. Instead of avoiding the dentist, consider the following actions when you’re going to the dentist:

·    Communicate to the staff that you’re feeling dental fear or anxiety

·    Breath slowly and apply other simple relaxation techniques that can help lower your blood pressure

·    Distract yourself by listening to music or an audiobook with headphones

2. Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Dental Phobia

Currently, researchers are finding ways that cognitive behavioral therapy can lessen dental anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a temporary form of behavioral treatment. Primarily, CBT exposes the relationship between beliefs, thoughts, and feelings and the accompanying behaviors.

Consequently, an anxious feeling occurs before a real encounter with a presumed threat stimulus. Sometimes, the stimulus goes unobserved or unrecognized. After identifying what triggers you, discover strategies for reducing anxiety, reflect, and communicate.

3. Sedation Dentistry

At Rio Rancho Smiles Family Dental, we offer two types of conscious sedation:

·    Oral sedatives taken as directed can allow patients to control their bodies and follow directions while providing moderate sedation.

4. Pain Control

Derived from Greek, anesthesia means without feeling. If you are worried or have an irrational fear about being tortured with extreme pain during dental treatment, don’t. Depending on what type of dental procedure your dentist is performing, he or she may recommend:

·    Local anesthetic temporarily numbs a small area of the body for minor procedures

·    General anesthesia is the most potent version of anesthesia is ideal for pain and anxiety control. People tend to lose reaction and perception to all external stimuli while under general anesthesia.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Dental Anxiety Management

How would you comfort a very nervous patient?

While some prefer maintaining regular communication during a consultation, others choose to tune out. Hearing soothing music can help many people. Alternatively, deep breathing techniques can improve concentration and reduce stress in the long run.

How can dental anxiety affect your dental health?

If you don’t visit a dentist, it can lead to more severe dental complications and the painful and traumatic cycle of dental anxiety. Although dental anxiety is not necessarily a predictor of poor oral health, dental anxiety impacts people’s daily life and psychological well-being.

Schedule a Stress-Free Dental Visit in Rio Rancho, NM

Regular dental checkups can reduce tooth decay by improving the dental function of the teeth and preventing tooth loss. Additionally, a dental professional will also check the mouth for oral health conditions that can also affect your general health (for example, gum disease).

If you are an anxious patient, we want to make your next dental appointment more comfortable at Rio Rancho Smiles Family Dentistry. Call 505-994-9693 or message us online today.


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