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Dreading the Dentist? 5 Tips for Managing Your Anxiety
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Dreading the Dentist? 5 Tips for Managing Your Anxiety

For many, going to the dentist is a fraught experience. The sound of the drill, the numbed gums, and the stabbing pain of the needle can all be incredibly anxiety-inducing. However, there are a few things you can do to avoid the anxiety involved with a dental visit. If you dread the dentist, here are five tips for managing your anxiety during a dental appointment. 

Communicate Your Anxiety to Your Dentist 
One of the best ways to deal with anxiety is to talk it out. Your dental professional will be well-aware of the fears that many patients experience. They can help you to alleviate your concerns through a combination of altering their care to suit your needs and explaining the ways they will mitigate your discomfort. 

Bring a Friend or Trusted Companion 
Friends can help us through the tough times—and, for some of us, going to the dentist is about as tough as it gets. Having someone around to help you through your discomfort can go a long way to making you feel better. Your friend or companion’s familiar presence will likely have a calming effect on your mind during your appointment, and you will be able to express your emotions to them both before and after the dental visit.

Inquire About Sedation
Another option is to ask your dentist if sedation is a possibility for your particular dental procedure. There are a number of methods dental professionals can use to sedate you, including inhalation analgesia (i.e., laughing gas), oral sedation, local anesthesia, and even sometimes intravenous sedation. Sedation dentistry is rapidly growing in popularity and is a great way to avoid the anxiety and pain that goes on during dental procedures. 

Meditation 
Practicing meditation can assuage your fears of the dentist. Mindfulness meditation, for instance, can help you view your dental anxiety from a more objective viewpoint, so you can avoid getting consumed by your fears. Prior to your appointment, reciting a mantra will give your mind an object of concentration, so you don’t obsess as much over your fears. And learning breathing exercises will have a calming effect both before and during your appointment with the dentist. 

Seeking Professional Help 
At times, the line between functional and dysfunctional anxiety can seem very thin. While all of us feel anxious sometimes, when your fears become overpowering, it is time to seek professional help. This is true for fears of the dentist, as well. If, for example, your anxiety is preventing you from keeping your dental appointments, this is a good indication that you may need professional treatment. Mental health professionals will remedy your anxiety using cognitive behavioral therapy and perhaps medication.

At the end of the day, anxiety affects us all in some shape or form, especially when it comes to seeing the dentist. While we may not enjoy these appointments, dental health is incredibly important to living a happy, satisfying life. Follow these tips in order to drastically reduce your anxiety levels before a dental appointment. 



By Lizzie Weakley BA
All rights reserved. Any reproducing of this article must have the author name and all the links intact.

Author: BA

Biography: Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her three-year-old husky Snowball.

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