While modern dentistry has definitely changed for the better, some people still have dental anxiety before their appointments. Our team of dentists and staff understand what it’s like and are always here to help. Use these tips to help ease your anxiety about visiting a dental professional.

Here are 8 ways to help ease your dental anxiety leading up to and during your appointment:

1. Use All Natural Techniques

Deep breathing is one of the best all natural techniques to help deal with any type of anxiety or anxious situation. It helps calm the mind and release stress. It’s a proven technique that’s surprisingly easy to do. Psych Central offers several great methods to try.

In addition to deep breathing, you can also try meditating. This can help dramatically leading up to your appointment. Consider making an acupuncture appointment before your dental appointment to release your tension.

Essential oils are also an option and you can even use them during your appointment. Lavender, jatamansi, valerian, jasmine, chamomile, and sweet basil are some of the most effective essential oils for anxiety.

2. Listen to Music or an eBook

Distract yourself to help ease anxiety during your dental appointment. Since cords can get in the way, bring along a pair of wireless earbuds. Tell your dentist you’ll be listening to music. If they need your attention, they can tap your arm. Sometimes, drowning out the sounds of the equipment and immersing yourself in a great song or book is enough to put you at ease.

3. Talk to Your Doctor About a Prescription

For severe dental anxiety, you may want to consider seeing your doctor about an anxiety-reducing medication. You can take these just when facing a stressful situation. Xanax, Ativan, and Valium are the most common. If you do take any of these, please make sure you have a driver. You won’t be able to drive when taking these medications.

4. Bring Along a Weighted Blanket

When you’re feeling anxious, do you wish someone would wrap you up in a soothing hug? This is exactly what a weighted blanket helps simulate. If you’re feeling anxious about visiting a dental professional, purchase a weighted blanket and bring it with you. These usually weigh anywhere from 4-30 pounds. The blankets are designed to simulate deep pressure touch therapy and may relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

In the days leading up to your appointment, use your weighted blanket to help you sleep better. Getting a good night’s sleep will also help reduce your anxiety on the day of the appointment.

5. Dress Comfortably

If you’re not comfortable when sitting in the chair, you’ll just feel more restless and anxious. Wear comfy clothes that make you feel like you’re just lounging around your house. The more comfortable you feel, the less anxious you’ll feel.

Another way to make you feel comfortable is wearing dark glasses. These block the bright lights your dentist uses to see inside your mouth. It’s a simple technique, but one that does reduce dental anxiety.

6. Skip the Caffeine

While caffeine might help you get going for the day, it’s not the most calming ingredient in your morning coffee. Too much of it makes you feel jittery. Of course, anything that makes you feel more on edge just increases your anxiety.

It’s perfectly fine to have a little caffeine before your dental appointment. However, maybe have just one cup of coffee versus two. The idea is to feel calm and relaxed. A better option is a soothing tea with one of the calming essential oils mentioned above. If you’re feeling too relaxed, ask someone to drive you to and from your appointment.

7. Eat Before Your Appointment

Dealing with anxiety about visiting a dental professional may make you feel queasy. However, an empty stomach may actually make your anxiety worse. Plus, it’s hard to feel comfortable with a rumbling tummy.

Eat a light meal before coming in. You don’t have to eat a major meal, but have something to keep you from feeling hungry during the appointment. (Did you realize seeing your dentist regularly can also help with your digestive health?)

If you’re taking an anxiety medication, you’ll want to eat something with it. Otherwise, the combination of an empty stomach and the medication may make you feel nauseous.

8. Talk to Your Dentist

Your dentist understands dental anxiety. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. If you have concerns, talk to your dentist. Ask as many questions as you need to. If there’s something specific you’re afraid of, your dentist may be able to make small changes that make a world of difference for you. They’ll also talk you through the entire procedure so you don’t feel surprised.

Let Our Dentists Take Care of You

Our dentists are skilled in not only dental work, but in taking care of patients from all angles. We will make sure you are as comfortable as possible with our work before and during your appointment. If you’re trying to ease your dental anxiety, contact us today to schedule a free consultation to talk about your concerns ahead of your visit.