3 Techniques for Reducing Anxiety at the Dentist’s Office

It’s perfectly normal to feel nervous before a dental appointment. Maybe you feel a bit anxious because you don’t know what’s going to happen, because you’re afraid of what the dentist might discover, or because you find the sights and sounds of the dentist office unsettling. Rather than let your nerves get the best of you, give these relaxation techniques a try.

1. Meditation and Breathing Exercises

Meditation’s role in clinical dentistry was first recognized by the scientific community in the 1970s. Today, some dental schools even offer meditation classes to teach mindfulness and relaxation practices to dentists-in-training. Most meditation strategies involve a combination of mantras or special word, deep or rhythmic breathing, and focus. Pushing away the emotions and senses associated with undergoing dental treatment can help people practiced in the art of meditation relax throughout basic treatments, like routine cleanings or checkups.

2. Bring Headphones and a Mobile Device

If you find it difficult to focus or you don’t have enough experience meditating to rely on it entirely during your dental appointment, you can always just plug yourself into your mobile device, turn on your favorite Pandora playlist, and space out. Many dentists’ offices feature noise cancelling headphones, iPads to browse the internet or catch up on your Netflix queue, and TVs in the treatment rooms.

3. Ask for Nitrous Oxide

Dentists don’t like the phrase, “Just tough it out.” Your dentist and his staff are committed to helping you feel comfortable and relaxed during your visit. If you think that you just won’t be able to feel at ease, you can always request nitrous oxide. This safe, odorless gas is mixed with oxygen and administered through a soft mask that’s placed over the nose. Nitrous oxide will begin to induce a state of euphoria, giddiness, and relaxation within a few breaths and is perfect for patients who feel nervous or have a hard time sitting still in a treatment chair for an extended period.  Even, better, nitrous wears off quickly after the mask has been removed, so you can continue with your normal day after the procedure.

About Shawn Hofkes, DDS

With advanced training in oral and maxillofacial surgery and certification in oral and IV sedation, Shawn Hofkes, DDS provides cosmetic dental services, including porcelain veneers, from our state-of-the-art dentist office in Cerritos, CA. To schedule your appointment or consultation with Dr. Hofkes, contact us today. We proudly serve patients of all ages from Cerritos, Lakewood, Long Beach, Buena Park, and all surrounding communities.