Dealing With Dental Anxiety

Dealing With Dental Anxiety

Post Date: Jun 28, 2023

Dental anxiety includes the common feelings of stress, fear, and anxiety when it comes to visiting the dentist. A lot can contribute to these feelings, like having had a bad experience in the past or know that a procedure might be painful. But avoiding the cause of fear usually isn’t a good way to deal with it, and that’s especially true when it comes to the health of your mouth. Here are a few ways to cope with your dental anxiety and keep your relationship with your dentist strong.

Find the right dentist for you

If you don’t like your dentist, or you don’t feel like they understand your concerns or anxiety, it can be difficult to trust them when you’re nervous. If this is your situation, it’s worth looking for a new one. There are dentists out there who even specialize in working with patients who have dental anxiety. If you don’t feel comfortable with your current dentist, see if there’s someone else you could see instead. Find the right dentist or hygienist for you.

Mindfulness exercises

Deep breathing, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and other mindfulness practices are good ways to help deal with your anxiety at the moment. Many times, you can even have headphones in during a procedure. That way, you can listen to music or a guided meditation to help get your mind off of the appointment.

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Dental anxiety exists on a spectrum. There are people who get a little nervous before a dental visit. And then there are people who have an extreme physiological reaction, like panic attacks and trouble breathing, or avoidance that could develop into a phobia. For people on any end of the spectrum, cognitive behavioral therapy might be able to help you manage your response. With a therapist, you might try tactics like familiarity and exposure to dental tools, talking through your anxieties, and working on ways to redirect from negative to positive thoughts.

CHP’s behavioral health programs in Bozeman, Livingston, and West Yellowstone offer services that may help, too.

Stay on top of your oral hygiene at home

If you know you dread the dentist, do the work when you’re at home to take extra care of your mouth. Developing good habits like brushing twice a day, flossing, and keeping your diet on track doesn’t mean you can avoid your twice-yearly appointments. But by taking care of your mouth, you can help make dental visits easier, with fewer procedures needed in the long run.

Request anesthesia

A lot of your oral health is based on genetics and factors outside of your control, however. So if you’re avoiding going to the dentist, you can always ask for extra help. Many times, dentists can use anesthesia like laughing gas to help ease stress during an appointment and keep you from feeling pain during a procedure. It’s worth speaking with the staff at your dental office to see if this is an option for you.

With all the nervousness surrounding dentist visits, don’t let the cost cause you more stress. And don’t let that stress keep you from making an appointment. Somedental clinics like the CHP clinics in Bozeman and Livingston, offer a sliding fee scale, and you might be able to get help applying for government assistance programs. Get in touch to learn more.