Managing Dental Anxiety 

24 / 07 / 2023

It’s not uncommon for patients visiting the dentist’s office to experience some trepidation about their procedure. Dental treatments are very close-and-personal and can be invasive and this sometimes leads to fear about the experience. Managing dental anxiety is important because it helps patients to feel more comfortable when they are undergoing a necessary procedure.Being able to manage dental anxiety may also make all the difference between getting a much-needed check-up and avoiding the dentist entirely. When a patient is relaxed, a dentist can do their job more easily and there is less risk of accidents happening. When patients are able to face a dentist’s appointment calmly it will benefit their oral health. 

How to Manage Dental Anxiety 

There are several strategies patients and dentists can employ to ensure that patients do not suffer undue levels of stress in the lead-up to or during their appointment. Maintaining open communication is one prevailing factor that can help patients manage dental anxiety. There are also a range of relaxation techniques patients can use to reduce a patient’s fear of attending their local dental clinic. Distractions can also be helpful in managing dental anxiety. Finally, dental sedation is an option available to people who suffer from extreme levels of fear about the dentist. 

Open Communication 

Dentists should be warm and supporting when engaging in discourse with patients. Dentists should build a rapport with their patients; founded on trust. By asking questions about the patient’s life, a dentist shows they care and invested in the patient’s wellbeing. Camly and thoroughly explaining what treatment is needed, why it is needed and how it will be carried out goes a long way when professional clinicians are building trust with patients.  

Relaxation Techniques 

There are a few techniques which patients can utilise to help themselves relax before and during a dentist’s appointment to varying degrees. Deep breathing through the nose and out the mouth, progressively tensing and relaxing muscle groups and listening to calming music or podcasts can be very relaxing when done methodically prior to an appointment. 

Employing Distractions 

Another highly effective way to manage dental anxiety is to use distractions to take away from the uncomfortable procedures undergone in the dentist’s chair. Most dentists will engage in deep conversation during their appointments. By asking simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions, a dentist can relax the patient enough for them to not focus on what’s happening in their mouth. Alternatively, using audiobooks, podcasts, music or television as a distraction can pull patients’ focus from the invasion of their mouth. If your dentist has a quiet personality and there aren’t digital distractions available, patients can focus intently on an object in the room they’re in as a last resort for distracting themself. 

Sedation Options 

If patients experience notorious levels of anxiety proceeding dental appointments they can ask for dental sedation during their treatment. Local, general and IV sedation techniques are available depending on the procedure being performed. These techniques numb an area of the mouth, the whole body or put the patient asleep, respectively. Sedation is highly effective at managing anxiety, but must be discussed with the treating dentist before the appointment. 

Book an Appointment at Big Smiles Dental Today        

Big Smiles Dental does everything in our power to make sure our patients aren’t anxious when attending their appointments. If you have any questions about managing dental anxiety before your next check-up please don’t hesitate to discuss your options with Big Smiles Dental today.