Tag Archives: anxiety

How to Combat Anxiety at the Dentist

Coming to the dentist for a checkup every 6 months is one of the most important things you can do for your oral health. People often site dental anxiety as their reason for not coming in, but if you prolong your visits it may end up making the dentist more stressful. Here are some tips to help you relax and feel better at the dentist.

  1. Speak up

First, tell the people around you how you’re feeling, and ask if someone you trust will come with you to the dentist. Sometimes it helps to have a familiar face with you while you’re in the chair. Next, speak up and tell the receptionist, your hygienist, or even dentist how you’re feeling. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable. It might also help to ask the hygienist to walk you through what’s going to happen during your appointment, so nothing comes as a surprise to you. Being in the know can help with your anxiety. 

  2.  Distractions

If you know you’re going to be anxious when it comes to the dentist, try to distract yourself. Some dentist offices have TVs or play music during your appointment. If yours doesn’t, ask if you can bring headphones to help block out the noise and distract you from what the dentist is actually doing. It may also help to bring something to do with your hands, whether it’s a stress ball or just something to fidget with and divert your mind.

  3.  Mindfulness techniques

First, try things like counting your breaths or counting back from 99. Concentrate on relaxing your muscles, one at a time. For example, start by releasing tension in your feet, then your legs, and so forth all the way up your body. These types of exercises slow your heart rate and help you relax. When you become anxious, a lot of times you take in less oxygen which can add to the stress on your body.

In reality, no one really likes to go to the dentist, but it’s so important to try to push past your fear so you can take care of your teeth. Remember, if you’re having anxiety, tell us, and we’ll try to make you as comfortable as possible. Set up your appointment today!  

Is Anxiety Causing You Dental Problems?

Do you struggle with anxiety? While everyone experiences stress from time to time, those with anxiety disorders or phobias deal with these uncomfortable — and sometimes debilitating — feelings on a regular basis. Anxiety can raise your blood pressure and cause various health issues, including dental problems. Read on to find out how anxiety can cause dental issues and what you can do about it.

Dental Phobia

If you have a strong fear of the dentist, you may have a dental phobia. Does the thought of going to the dentist make you feel physically ill, or do you experience heart palpitations, sweating, and shortness of breath either in the chair or while in the waiting room?

Some people who have dental phobia cope with it by avoiding the dentist. Unfortunately, this can lead to gum disease, dental decay, and other dental problems that don’t get addressed. Talk to your dentist about your phobia; there are solutions that can help! For example, listen to music to help distract you from your worries. In severe cases, medication might be needed.

Grinding Your Teeth

If you have generalize anxiety or just a lot of stress, you might clench and grind your teeth. This habit is called bruxism, and it can cause headaches, jaw pain, and worn enamel. You could break fillings or even break teeth.

Reducing your stress can help; so can a nightguard fabricated by your dentist, which you’ll wear overnight to help prevent grinding in your sleep.

Too Overwhelmed to Stick to Routines

If you are dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety, you might find it difficult to stick to your regular routines. If you’re falling into bed at the end of the day because you are exhausted, you might not be brushing and flossing before you sleep. This can lead to poor dental health.

If you are so busy and stressed that you are relying on drive-through meals or junk food, you can be negatively impacting your teeth (and your overall health) in this way, too.

Some relaxation methods like taking up yoga, exercising each day, guided imagery, or seeking counseling can help.

If your anxiety is getting the best of you, talk to your doctor about ways that you can feel better. There’s no need to suffer from anxiety; it’s a treatable condition and your health, including your dental health, can be improved by taking that step.