7 Tips for Managing Dental Anxiety

By

Sixth Street Dental

|

June 25, 2020

Most people don’t look forward to visiting their dentist. Dental appointments are often tedious and boring after all. However, a high number of patients actually experience fear and anxiety toward going to the dentist. Some people’s fears are so strong that they avoid going to the dentist altogether. These fears may stem from negative experiences in the past or the sterile scent of a dental office. 

Dental anxiety can cause serious harm to your oral health if it causes you to miss out on an appointment. To help you address your anxiety, Sixth Street Dental Aesthetics, the leading dentist in Pittsburgh, PA, is here to offer you 7 tips on successfully managing your dental anxiety. 

Top 7 Tips for Managing Your Dental Anxiety

An Expert Dentist in Pittsburgh, PA Offers Guidance For Getting Through Your Dental Appointment

smiling dental patient

1. Express Your Concerns to Your Dentist

Your dental team is here to ensure your dental and emotional health are taken care of throughout your appointment. Sharing your anxiety or nerves is encouraged so that your team is able to properly address your concerns. When you book your appointment, you can tell the receptionist about your anxiety toward dental appointments. Sharing information such as a bad past experience can help give them context on your situation. Many times, a team member can share effective coping techniques with you.

Don’t be afraid to ask any questions to your dentist about your procedure. It can be reassuring to know what steps the dentist is going to take or whether you may experience any discomfort throughout the appointment. Many patients also develop hand signals with their dentists. If at any point, during the procedure they feel uncomfortable, they can make a hand signal to let the dentist know they need to take a break. 

2. Learn How to Properly Breath During a Procedure

When you have multiple sets of hands and instruments moving around your face, it can be easy to forget to breathe. However, holding your breath can actually worsen your anxiety. Because of the decrease in oxygen levels, you may experience increased feelings of panic. Practice deep breathing exercises before your procedure to help yourself relax. 

Deep breathing exercises are pretty simple. For instance, you can inhale slowly and exhale under a set number of breaths. Try counting your breaths as you do this. As you breathe, you should also focus on inhaling from your stomach. You can practice this breathing technique as you wait for your appointment and during any breaks throughout your dental procedure. 

3. Bring Some Headphones

female wearing set of red headphones

If the sound of drills increases your anxiety, consider bringing a pair of headphones for your next dental appointment. Listening to some soothing music or even an audiobook can help alleviate your anxiety and nerves. Some dental offices offer a TV screen for patients to watch during their appointment. Ask your dentist in Pittsburgh, PA if this option is available, or if they offer any headphones if you don’t have any yourself. 

4. Avoid Certain Drinks and Foods Before Your Appointment

Drinking a caffeinated beverage like coffee or soda can increase your dental anxiety. Sugary foods such as candy or protein bars can also cause a spike in your energy levels. Stay away from these foods and drink water and a protein-filled meal before your appointment instead. Fatty fish, eggs, Greek yogurt, and chamomile tea are known for easing anxiety in people. 

5. Schedule an Appointment When You Won’t Be Rushed

Try to schedule an appointment when you are less likely to be rushed. Worrying about where you are driving from or to after your appointment can increase feelings of anxiety. Saturday appointments or early morning appointments are usually popular for people with busy schedules. Just make sure your dentist in Pittsburgh, PA is open on Saturdays before scheduling an appointment at that time. 

6. Find Methods to Distract Yourself

Try using a stress ball or a fidget spinner to distract yourself during your appointment. Imagining yourself at your happy places, such as the beach or a garden, can also help soothe your nerves. As you do this, remember to keep breathing regularly throughout the procedure. 

7. Use Mindfulness Techniques

four rocks

As you continue to breathe in and out during your procedure, you can also practice a number of mindfulness techniques. One popular practice involves performing a “body scan” of yourself. During a body scan, you will concentrate on relaxing each of your muscles one body part at a time. Start by releasing tension in your head before moving down to your cheeks, neck, and the rest of your body. 


Is your yearly dental check-up on the horizon? Sixth Street Dental Aesthetics is a top-rated dentist in Pittsburgh, PA. With services including Invisalign treatment, smile makeovers, and Botox, you can rest assured that you can achieve the smile of your dreams with Sixth Street. Contact the team at Sixth Street Dental Aesthetics today to get started.

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