5 Ways to Reduce Anxiety at the Dentist’s Office

Cosmetic_dentistIt can be difficult to schedule an appointment with your cosmetic dentist, even if it is needed,if you’re among the nine to 15 percent of the American population that suffers from dental anxiety.

The good news is that there are many ways to overcome dental anxiety and allow cosmetic dentists to perform procedures that will improve your oral health and appearance. Here are five tips from cosmetic dentist Dr. Carol Ford, who has a practice in central Phoenix, that can help you confront your anxiety symptoms and make your next dental appointment more pleasant.

Five ways to combat anxiety at your next cosmetic dentist’s appointment

  1. Ask to see Vito, Dr. Ford’s Golden Retriever. Vito has been trained as a Power Paws Assistance Dog and is available upon request for you to interact with. His presence can lower your blood pressure, help your body make fewer stress hormones and distract you from your dental anxieties.
  2. Bring headphones and listen to your favorite music. It’s easy to carry a playlist of tunes in your smartphone that calm you and help you feel happy while dental work is being done.
  3. Practice mindfulness meditation or other deep breathing techniques. Mindfulness meditation – which asks the practitioner to focus on his or her breathing to keep their attention on the present moment – has been found to ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression, and pain. There are many easy ways to get started with mindfulness meditation.
  4. Select a cosmetic dentist whose office setting is calming and relaxing. Research has validated that certain factors in a cosmetic dentist’s office can decrease anxiety, including decor that encourages relaxation, pleasant background music, and a friendly, communicative (yet calm) staff. Dr. Ford has designed her practice as a relaxing place to experience whole-person health, and this sets many clients’ minds at ease.
  5. Ask your cosmetic dentist about nitrous oxide or anti-anxiety medications. If you’ve tried the above tips and still have considerable anxiety, consult with your dentist about the use of sedation dentistry or anti-anxiety medications. These can be very effective when the level of anxiety is high and the need for treatment immediate.

“There’s no shame in experiencing dental anxiety — you’re not alone in your struggle, and there are many effective ways to address it,” says Dr. Ford.

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