6 Tips to Overcome Dental Anxiety
by Dr. Beau Beecher, DDS on 2/28/2023
If you’re afraid of the dentist, you’re not alone. Almost 36% of people in the U.S. have a fear of dental treatment, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Fortunately, there are effective ways to overcome your dental anxiety. We’ve put together six tips that helped our patients go from scared first-timers to confident regulars with healthy, bright smiles.
6 Tips to Overcome Dental Anxiety
Does your blood pressure rise at the thought of visiting the dentist? While this is a common fear, it doesn't have to come at the expense of your oral health. Here are six ways you can fight anxiety and turn your visit into a pleasant experience.
Choose the Right Dentist
The first step to overcoming your dental anxiety is choosing the right dentist. Your dentist should be compassionate, friendly, and non-judgemental. When researching dentists look for the following:
- Does the dentist cater to nervous first-time patients?
- Are there any customer testimonials written by patients who used to be scared of the dentist and now feel more confident?
- What does the dentist and staff do to make patients feel comfortable?
If you live in Iowa and are looking for a dentist that can help with your anxiety, we have office locations from Des Moines to Waterloo with a skilled and friendly team ready to serve you. Here are a few ways the Kimball & Beecher staff create a comfortable environment for patients:
- Compassionate receptionist and staff who take time to understand your needs and note any accommodations before your appointment.
- Heated neck wrap, pillow, and blanket provided to help you relax.
Tell the Dentist Your Concerns Before Your Appointment
Feeling anxious before your dental appointment? Let your dentist know. Discuss what will make you feel more comfortable. Do you want your dentist to talk to you every step of a procedure before starting? Or would you rather not know what is happening?
Inform your dentist and their staff in advance, so they can adjust their techniques to help you feel at ease. It’s also helpful to show up at least 15 minutes early to your appointment so you can be more comfortable and discuss any additional issues with the staff.
Listen to Music or Watch TV During Your Appointment
Some dental tools can be very noisy. Although these instruments are harmless, their loud sounds can make even the most brave patient a little nervous. If you’d rather not hear or see the dental instruments, ask if you can listen to music or watch TV during your appointment. Kimball & Beecher dental offices provide headphones and turn on the TV to help distract you from any outside noises.
Bring a Friend or Family Member for Support
If you need someone to hold your hand or sit close to you during your dental appointment, ask if a friend or family member can join you for support. For younger children who may be experiencing the dental office for the first time, it’s recommended to schedule their appointment the same day as other family members. This will help the little ones feel less apprehensive and more likely to mimic the confident behavior of a sibling or parent.
For some patients, knowledge is power, and can help them feel more in control of anxiety during a dental appointment. At Kimball & Beecher, we welcome any and all questions about our dental process. Our dental articles explain common procedures such as root canals and fillings. You’ll also learn better dental care tips for yourself or your kids.
Reflect and Be Kind to Yourself
Reflecting on why you are afraid of the dentist can help you overcome your fears. Maybe you're embarrassed you’ve gone so long between appointments, or you’ve had bad experiences previously. It might also help to consider the perspective that keeping up with regular appointments will help you avoid more serious issues in the long run.
If you’ve worked up the courage to go to your appointment, but are having second thoughts, try deep breathing and mediating beforehand. These tactics can reduce stress levels and provide you with a calm strength before you see the dentist.
Schedule an Appointment at Kimball & Beecher
Don’t let fear of the dentist hold you back from improving your oral health. The longer you avoid the dentist, the more likely you may experience a serious and expensive issue that could have been prevented sooner. Let us help you feel comfortable and confident in a dental office. Schedule an appointment with a friendly and compassionate Kimball & Beecher dentist today.