How to Calm Anxiety Before Your Dentist Appointment

Author: Dr. Reem Kidess | Posted on with 0 comments

If this is your first time seeing a dentist, or it has been a while since your last cleaning, you might feel some apprehension about the outcome of your next dental appointment. Another reason patients might feel uncomfortable is when it’s for more than just a routine cleaning, for example, a root canal, extraction, or crown. It’s common to feel a bit nervous before appointments, especially for procedures that are more than routine. Continue reading on to know a few tips on how to stay calm at the dentist.

So, you have your dentist appointment on the calendar, but as the date gets closer, are you looking for ways to calm anxiety before your dentist appointment? Here are a few ideas that may help you calm your nerves so you can take care of your dental work.

9 Ways to Calm Anxiety Before Dental Appointments

  1. Scheduling Matters. It may be tempting to schedule other things throughout the day, but if you have anxiety, this may not be the best decision. If you can, take the entire day off to relieve you of the mental load of other tasks, which may add to your anxiety. You don’t want to stress over returning to work or taking care of other things after your appointment. The fewer responsibilities you have to worry about, the easier it will be for you.
  2. Ask Questions. Write down all the questions you have about the procedure or appointment. If you can’t get these answered ahead of time, arrive early to your appointment so there’s enough time to answer your questions. If the dentist or staff hasn’t done so, ask them to explain the process or procedure to you.
  3. Get Enough Sleep and Avoid Stimulants. Go to bed early and get plenty of rest the day before your appointment. Sleep deprivation will add to your anxiety and makes it difficult to manage. In addition, avoid consuming stimulants like caffeine and limit (or completely) avoid consuming sugar. These substances can aggravate anxiety and also cause low-quality sleep.
  4. Drink Enough Water. Believe it, dehydration or simply not getting enough water can induce anxiety. Be sure you’re getting enough water intake leading up to your appointment. Avoid drinking too much water a few hours beforehand so you won’t need to use the bathroom in the middle of your procedure.
  5. Yoga, Deep Breathing, Light Walking. These practices can provide grounding and promote mental clarity. The less you have on your mind, the easier it will be to manage your anxiety in general. In addition, feeding extra oxygen to your brain is a proven way to reduce stress.
  6. Listen to Music. Calming music before your appointment to encourage relaxation, or music as a distraction during your appointment (or maybe both!), music can be a great way to alter your state of mind or keep your mind busy as the dentist works on your teeth.
  7. Ask if there is a TV. Many dental offices now have screens on the ceiling to distract patients during their appointments. Find out ahead of time if your dentist offers this option.
  8. Bring Your Comfort. Whether that comfort is a blanket or a trusted friend, bring something that brings you an extra sense of security. Many dental offices are happy to make these accommodations.
  9. Medication Intervention. If you don’t believe the above techniques will be enough, consider talking to your doctor or dentist about medication ahead of time to help calm your nerves. Anxiety medication can effectively address nervousness before a dental appointment or procedure but will typically require a prescription. You will need to discuss this with your dentist or general physician  ahead of time if you plan to calm your anxiety before your dental appointment using this technique.

Dental Anxiety is Common

Feeling anxiety over seeing a dentist or before having a procedure done is nothing to be ashamed of. However, there’s a reason for the upward growth of sedation dentists across America. 

Advancements in dental technology and techniques have been major contributors toward the solution of dental avoidance, as well as more awareness about the prevalence of odontophobia (dental fear) among adults. A quality sedation dentist will provide their patients with tools and techniques to calm anxiety before their dental appointment, as well as sedation options during the procedure for the comfort of their patients.

Finding the Right Dentist

Finding the right dentist to address your needs is critical to successful treatment. Building repertoire and trust with your dentist and dental office staff will go a long way toward reducing anxiety. It’s a good idea to find a dentist trained in sedation dentistry techniques beyond the requirements of earning a dental degree. These dentists have invested extra time and sought out education that enables them to cater to patients like you, who would otherwise avoid seeing a dentist altogether, or at least until the damage is bad enough that it’s too painful to avoid any longer.

PV Smiles and Dr. Reem Kidess – Serving the Scottsdale, AZ Area

Dr. Reem Kidess has invested many hours completing training, enabling her to offer a wide range of sedation options to her patients, including oral, inhalation, and IV sedation. We work hard to ensure each patient feels comfortable under our care, and the smiles leaving the office prove this. In addition, Dr. Kidess  takes the time to listen to her patients and will work to create a treatment plan that will work for you.

If you’re ready to discuss solutions to address your dental anxiety, we would love to hear from you! We invite you to scroll to the bottom of this page to schedule a consultation, or you can call the office. We look forward to hearing from you!

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