How to Feel Calm During a Dental Procedure with Dental Anxiety

How to Feel Calm During a Dental Procedure with Dental Anxiety

When it comes to undergoing dental procedures, anxiety can interfere with your peace of mind. As you settle into the chair, you may become overwhelmed with anxious thoughts and unsure how to alleviate them so you can get through the next hour.

It may be helpful to know that technological advancements today are making these dental procedures more convenient, quicker, and less painful. Your dental professionals have experience working with nervous patients and will go to every effort to boost your comfort level and help you relax.

Yet, if you still find yourself suffering dental anxiety, whether mild or extreme, become proactive in finding ways to stay calm during dental procedures. Here are a few things to try.

Select an appointment time that works best for you

Morning appointments are often the best time to schedule dental procedures if you suffer from dental anxiety. With less time to fixate on the upcoming procedure, your anxiety level doesn’t escalate to such high levels. In other words, you’ll avoid letting your anxiety build during the day.

However, if you know that afternoons are more of a downtime for you when you feel less motivated and energetic, you may want to consider scheduling the appointment later in the day.

Alert your dental team to your anxiety

Let your entire dental team know about your anxiety. Voicing your trepidations and concerns during a previous appointment or right before the procedure begins will alert these dental professionals to ensure your comfort, reassuring you that everything is going well and asking periodically if you need a break. Often, feeling heard and understood by the dentist and dental assistant can create calmness.

Establish a sign that you need a break

Inform your dentist that you would like to use a signal during the procedure to alert them that you need a break. This can be a hand signal such as the palm up or two fingers raised. Often, you may just need a few seconds or a minute to take a few deep breaths in order to calm the anxiety.

Ask for relaxing or distracting aids during the procedure

Your dental team may be able to provide relaxing or distracting aids to help you through the procedure as well. For example, the playing of calming, relaxing music may be beneficial. A screen may be adhered to the wall in front of you so you can watch a video. Your dental office may offer eye masks or headphones to help you relax also.

Focus on your breathing

One way many patients deal with stress in these types of situations is to focus on their breathing. Try practicing slow, deep breathing prior to the appointment so you will be familiar with it when in the chair. Throughout the procedure, practice this deep breathing. One way to do so is to count to four as you inhale, hold for another four seconds, then release to a count of four.

Plan Distractions

You may need to distract yourself, and one way to do that is to plan what you will concentrate on during the procedure. Will you listen to an audiobook or a podcast? Will you mentally list out all you need to pack for that trip you’re going on soon?

Another way to distract yourself is to visualize happy memories or beautiful locations you’ve visited. Let nostalgia take over, and enjoy basking in those happy thoughts.

Determine a way to shift your thoughts onto something specific to calm yourself.

Avoid High Amounts of Caffeine Before the Procedure

Anxiety, in general, is aggravated by high amounts of caffeine in the body. It can spike your blood pressure as well as your heart rate, inducing high levels of stress. Add this spike to your nervousness about undergoing the procedure, and you have an intense reaction as you lower yourself into the dentist’s chair.

Hours prior to the procedure, avoid caffeine if at all possible, or limit it as much as you can. Reward yourself later with a good cup of coffee or tea if you like.

Request Sedation Dentistry

If you know that anxiety will get the better of you, ask your dentist to provide you with sedation dentistry. You may be able to choose between minimal sedation, where you remain awake but relaxed, or a stronger sedation, where you will sleep through the procedure.

Schedule Your Appointment with the Compassionate Professionals at Linworth Family Dental

If you suffer from dental anxiety, contact our friendly staff here at Linworth Family Dental. We will gladly take the time to ensure you feel comfortable during any procedure and help you find ways to stay calm and relaxed. Find out how we can help by calling our office or requesting an appointment on our website today.

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