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Four Things You Can Do to Reduce Anxiety When Going to the Dentist

Visiting the dentist is a common source of anxiety for many people. For some, it might be a fear of a painful procedure; for others, it is just being unsure of what the dentist will be doing. While anxiety when visiting the dentist is common in kids, there are many adults who struggle with similar fears. Here are four things you can do to help reduce the anxiety on your next trip to the dentist.

Talk it out

If you have specific anxieties or concerns about the procedures you will undergo during your visit, talk to the staff and the dentist about them. Don't be afraid to express any concerns you have and why you have them. Your dentist will often be willing to explain the procedure to you and sometimes even walk you through each step as they do the work to help you feel at ease and as relaxed as possible.

Avoid the sounds that cause stress

The sounds of the dentist office can cause stress for some people. From the loud whine of the drill to the gulps of the suction, sounds can cause anxiety levels to rise. One way to avoid hearing those sounds is to bring an MP3 player and headphones to your appointment. Feel free to talk to the staff about listening to some relaxing music during your visit to help drown out those stress-inducing noises.

Breathe your way to relaxation

One way to relax when in a stressful situation is to practice breathing techniques like segmented or controlled breathing. Concentrate on breathing in through your nose for four to five seconds then release the breath over the same four to five seconds back out through your nose. Repeating this for a few minutes will encourage a state of relaxation in your body, as it is a simple and often effective way to take control of your mind and body and allow yourself to relax.

Take a break when you need to

Talk to your dentist about setting up a signal that will tell them if you need to take a break. Raising a hand or tapping on the arm of the chair can be a good way to tell the dentist that you need to stop for a minute. You can use this same signal with the hygienist or other office staff if your procedure will be done by someone other than the dentist as long as you make sure ahead of time that they understand your fears and that this is a necessary part of your visit.

For more tips on calming your nerves at the dentist, check out