Sleep Dentistry Can Help. See How

Overcoming dental fears, anxiety and phobias is important for your health

Avoiding the dentist can lead to gum disease and premature tooth loss. It can even affect your overall health. Numerous studies have shown that poor oral health has been linked to conditions such as heart disease and lung infections.

How to overcome dental anxiety

Everyone needs to take care of their teeth, because healthy teeth and gums are important for the health of your whole body. Plus, everyone wants to see that beautiful smile of yours!

Here are few ways to overcome fears of visiting the dentist. Your dentist can tell you about more ways to help you feel comfortable.

1. Talk to us

Talk to the staff, your hygienist or your dentist about how you feel. Tell them about your fears when you set your appointment and when you arrive. Knowing how you feel helps them take better care of you. Plus, acknowledging your fears can help lower your stress level.

2. Set a safe signal

Choose a signal — a wave, a thumbs down sign, a tap on the shoulder — that you can use if you’re feeling uncomfortable and need a break. Being able to control when your dentist or hygienist starts and stops can help reduce your anxiety.

3. Breathe!

When we’re tense, we often hold our breath without even realizing it! Holding your breath lowers your oxygen levels and raises your stress level, so let it out and try to stay focused on taking slow, deep breaths. 

4. Do a body check

Are you hands clenched? Your toes curled? Your face all scrunched? Focus on relaxing your muscles from head to toe.

5. Time your appointment

If you schedule your appointment in the middle of a busy workweek, the extra stress will make things worse. Visit on a Saturday or in the evening when you won’t be pressed for time.

Or… you could sleep through your dental procedure

When you talk to your dentist about your anxiety, she may recommend a sedative to help you stay calm. You have a range of options from a mild sedative like laughing gas (nitrous oxide) to a stronger sedative that will put you to sleep.

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Five signs that you may suffer from dental anxiety or phobia

  • Trouble sleeping the night before a dental exam
  • Feeling more and more nervous while you’re in the waiting room
  • Wanting to cry or feeling physically ill just thinking about the dentist
  • Feeling panicked or unable to breathe when you sit in a dentist chair
  • Thinking about a dental tool in your mouth is unbearable
  • You purposefully avoid dental check-ups out of fear