5 helpful tips for those anxious about seeing the dentist

by Riverside Heights Dental March 24th, 2024 in Riverside Heights Dental
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Dental anxiety can cause problems seeking dental care from a dentist. Unfortunately, this can have far-reaching effects! So it’s important to recognize what’s happening so you can try to alleviate it as much as possible. We’re going to give you some tips for reducing it but first, let’s look a little closer at what dental anxiety is and what causes it.

What is dental anxiety?

Basically, it’s a fear of something related to going to the dentist. It could be a fear of needles, of pain, of the sound and smells, of not being sure what’s going to happen. It could stem from having someone standing so closely, or touching you. We’ve seen patients at our dental clinic in north Surrey who were also anxious about being judged for the state of their teeth and/or letting problems go on so long. Some patients may experience anxiety over how much treatment will cost. And some feel anxious about hearing bad news during a checkup, like the discovery of a problem and the need for further treatment.

What does dental anxiety look like or feel like?

Generally, someone feeling dental anxiety may experience any of the following:

  • Nervous sweating
  • Ongoing worry
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Shaking hands
  • Feeling nauseated
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Doubts about seeking treatment

What causes dental anxiety?

Many times it’s caused by a bad experience, or even having heard of a bad experience from someone else. It may be caused by a fear of the unknown, or the fear of not being in control.

How can I alleviate dental anxiety? 5 tips.

  1. Talk to your dentist about it. Just talking to your dentist can alleviate many concerns and fears about the treatment, procedures, alternatives, accommodations. If someone hasn’t been to the dentist in a long time, there may be better treatments in place now. Getting x-rays, for instance. They are much easier and more comfortable than they were in the past.
  2. Practice relaxation. Take time to purposefully relax. Use whatever methods work best for you. It could be mediation, yoga, exercise, listening to music, playing games, reading, being outside, etc.
  3. Bring a friend. For some people, having a family member or friend along is comforting and helps to keep anxiety in check.
  4. Bring headphones, music, or fidgets. Sometimes distractions are enough to help our anxious patients get through their dental exams in north Surrey. Noise-cancelling headphones are helpful for those sensitive to the office sounds and noise from the drills. Don’t worry, we’ll tap you on the shoulder if we need to get ahold of you.
  5. Seek additional treatment for anxiety. If nothing else works to alleviate your dental anxiety and it’s keeping you from treatment, or if it grows into dental fear or dental phobia, it may help to speak with a professional anxiety counsellor.

We understand dental anxiety. We do everything we can for our patients to help them feel more relaxed, comfortable and knowledgeable about their dental health and treatment options. If you or someone you know suffers from dental anxiety, particularly if it’s been a while since your last visit to a dentist, please reach out to talk to us at our dental clinic in north Surrey. 

Riverside Heights Dental Clinic in North Surrey has been in the community since 1981. We are able to assist you with all your dental needs including dental anxiety. Contact us to make an appointment: 604-584-2535