How to Calm Anxiety Before Visiting the Dentist


It’s estimated that 36% of the population experiences some form of dental anxiety, with an estimated 12% suffering from extreme fear. For many, the fear and anxiety are enough to keep them from visiting the dentist regularly for preventative care and treatments. As a result, their oral and general health suffers.

If you have dental anxiety, we recommend trying the following strategies to calm yourself before and during dental appointments.

7 Strategies for Calming Dental Anxiety

1. Talk With Your Dentist
Communication is the most important thing you can do to ease your fear of the dentist. When we know that you are afraid, we can make accommodations to help ease your anxiety such as taking breaks during your appointment, thoroughly explaining what to expect during your treatment, and providing you with alternative means of communicating with us during your care.

2. Schedule Smartly
If you’re already stressed about visiting the dentist, try to schedule your appointments on days when nothing else stressful is going on.

3. Practice Meditation
Meditation of all kinds (breathing, visualization, counting exercises, etc.) can be useful for calming your mind and body, slowing your heart rate, and lowering your blood pressure during stressful events.

4. Bring a Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets have been shown to combat the body’s physical stress response, and we welcome you to bring one to cover up in for additional comfort during your exam.


5. Wear Headphones
Headphones are a good way to block the noise of the dental office, distract your mind, and to calm yourself by listening to your favorite music, relaxing nature sounds, a guided meditation, an audiobook, or your favorite podcast.

6. Talk With a Therapist
If you have past trauma or an anxiety disorder that is causing your dental anxiety or dentophobia, a therapist’s professional support, advice, and care could be extremely helpful in learning to manage your symptoms in order to receive the treatment you need.

7. Take Advantage of Sedation Dentistry Services
There are several sedation dentistry options available to help patients with dental anxiety access dental care without stress or fear. Different levels of sedation can be achieved using nitrous oxide (laughing gas), prescription oral medications, and IV sedation (anesthesia). A dentist can help you determine the level of sedation that’s most appropriate for you based on your anxiety and upcoming treatment.

Sedation Dentistry With Our Dentist in La Mesa

To learn more about sedation dentistry, dental anxiety, and how our dental care providers at Cardinal Dental can accommodate you, we welcome you to contact our office to discuss your treatment options.