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Helping Ease Dental Anxiety

a young woman sits afraid in a dental chair

Fear of the dentist is one of the most common phobias in the United States and can lead many to have dental anxiety. There are some things you can do to help ease your fear of the dentist. 

Tips to Ease Dental Anxiety 

One of the first things you should do is let the dentist and team know that you struggle with anxiety. You aren’t the only person, and knowing your fears allows the team to properly prepare for your visit. 

If possible, choose a time and day that is lower stress for you. For example, a day that you are running several other errands may not be the best time for your dental appointment. This isn’t always feasible, but if it is, keep this tip in mind.

Dr. Barker’s office offers stress balls to squeeze and help you fidget. This can provide you with some physical release for your anxiety during your exam and procedure.

The Smiles by Design team also allows patients to wear a blanket during a visit and has some on hand. For many people with anxiety, the slight weight and pressure of a blanket can help calm nerves, similar to a weighted blanket. 

Wear headphones or earbuds to listen to calming sounds during your exam, cleaning, or procedure. Often times soothing music, nature sounds, or meditation apps can help alleviate anxiety. 

Limit caffeine on the day of your exam or procedure. Caffeine can increase your anxiety. 

Before your exam or procedure, breathing exercises, including “box breathing” techniques can help. Box breathing is done by inhaling for four seconds, holding for four seconds, and exhaling for four seconds. 

Finally, nitrous oxide or laughing gas can help. Dr. Kristyn Barker, DDS, and the team at Smiles by Design understand this anxiety and accommodate patients who need it. Laughing gas is available for any procedure as part of our sedation dentistry service. In addition, Dr. Barker allows one family member to be in the room to help anxious patients relax.

Contact Us 

If you struggle with dental anxiety, we can help! Contact us today to schedule your appointment and let our team know you want sedation.