Three Tips to Tackle Dental Anxiety

In order to maintain a healthy mouth, it’s important to see your dentist at least twice a year for regular checkups and cleanings – but that’s difficult if you are one of the estimated 36% of adults who struggle with dental anxiety. You might be scared the visit will hurt, or maybe you haven’t been in a while and you’re worried about what the dentist will find. At Cardinal Dental, we understand going to the dentist can be difficult for those who struggle with dental anxiety, and it is our goal to make all of our patients feel at ease. Cardinal Dental is here to help you achieve a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile – Don’t let your dental anxiety get in the way of having a healthy mouth!

If you feel nervous just thinking about going to the dentist, you may be interested to learn some ways to manage your dental anxiety. Here are three tips to tackle your dental anxiety:

1. Practice Clear Communication

Communication eases anxiety, so if you start to feel tense or anxious, speak up. The dentist and dental team are better able to treat you if they know your needs. Talk with your dentist before the exam starts so your dentist knows how to communicate with you and make you feel comfortable.

  • Before your visit, tell your dental team about your anxiety. When you book your appointment, tell the receptionist you’re nervous about dental visits. Remind the dentist and dental staff about your anxiety when you arrive.
  • During your visit, don’t be afraid to ask questions – knowing what is going to happen can help alleviate your fears. Consider making up a signal, such as raising your hand, so you can let your dentist know if you need to take a break during the exam.

2. Engage in Distraction

If you feel anxious and nervous it might seem impossible to take your mind off the dental exam, but a good distraction can help you cope with your dental anxiety. Engaging in distraction can occupy your thoughts and help you get through your exam smoothly. Here are a few examples of distractions that may help:

  • Headphones: Bring headphones to wear, so you can eliminate any noises you find unpleasant, and listen to your favorite music or audiobook instead.
  • Occupy your hands: Squeeze a stress ball or play with a small handheld object, such as a fidget spinner.

3. Use Mindfulness Techniques

Relaxation starts in the mind; deep breathing exercises and other mindfulness techniques can help you reduce anxiety and relax tension. Try these simple mindfulness techniques:

  • Imagine your happy place: Visualize yourself at a relaxing beach or garden, let your mind take you to wherever you feel most at peace. Allow yourself to be in that happy place, and your anxiety will melt away.
  • Count your breaths: Inhale slowly through your nose and then exhale through your mouth for the same number of counts. Try doing this five times while you’re waiting for your appointment to begin, or during breaks while you’re sitting in the dental chair.
  • Check in with your body:. Concentrate on relaxing your muscles, one body part at a time. Start with your head, focusing on releasing tension in your forehead, then your cheeks, then your neck, and work your way slowly down the rest of your body to your toes.

If you are struggling with dental anxiety, one of the best ways to relieve your tension is to find a dentist where you feel comfortable and listened to. At Cardinal Dental, we pride ourselves in providing affordable, quality dental care, in a comfortable family-oriented setting. From the time you walk in for your first visit, you’ll notice our clean, comfortable waiting room and our friendly, welcoming staff. Our front desk staff will go over what services you are scheduled for that day, and the chairside team will be patient and clear throughout your exam so you always know what to expect. Our goal is to make sure you always feel comfortable and at ease.

When you are ready to schedule your dental visit, give Cardinal Dental a call! At Cardinal Dental in La Mesa, California, we are here to help you achieve a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile. We understand going to the dentist can be difficult for those who struggle with dental anxiety, so we have created an environment in which you can feel comfortable and truly cared for. Cardinal Dental welcomes you to come see how easy receiving quality dental care can be! Don’t let your dental anxiety get in the way of having a healthy mouth – give Cardinal Dental a call at (619) 345-7999, or click here to make an appointment for your dental visit today!