If you feel nervous or anxious about going to the dentist, you’re not alone! Many people experience some level of stress before a dental appointment. Even routine procedures like cleanings can cause uneasiness in some people. 

While a little nervousness is normal, excessive anxiety can lead you to skip appointments and avoid necessary treatments. The good news is there are many ways to ease your mind and relax during dental appointments. With preparation and a few calming techniques, you can get through any dental work with less stress.

Today, we wanted to share a few tips for how you can reduce your anxiety at the dentist’s office:

  • Use Breathing Exercises

One of the fastest ways to self-soothe is by taking long, deep breaths. Purposeful inhales and exhales trigger your relaxation response and lower stress hormones. Pause for a few minutes before your appointment to breathe slowly. Inhale deeply through your nose, feeling your belly expand. Then exhale fully out through your mouth. Repeat this calming activity until you feel your tension start to melt away. 

  • Distract Yourself

Your anticipation of dental work often exceeds the reality. Take your mind off the procedure by distracting yourself in the waiting room and chair. Pop in some earbuds and listen to your favorite music or podcast. We also have headphones and music we can give you to keep you distracted. You may also consider bringing a fidget spinner or stress ball to keep your hands occupied. The more absorbed you are in another activity, the less you focus on your worries.

  • Talk to Your Dentist

Be honest with our team about your anxiety. We want you to feel as comfortable as possible. We will listen to your concerns, walk you through procedures, pause when necessary, and even offer sedation if necessary. Sedation options are also available, which will reduce your nerves. Just letting us know that you are struggling with anxiety will enable us to offer the support you need.

  • Bring Along a Friend or Family Member

Having a friend or family member accompany you can make a big difference. Their presence and conversation help take your mind off the dental work. Ask them to engage you with small talk, funny stories, or even by reminiscing about positive memories together. Just having a hand to hold can also lower anxiety. 

  • Try Relaxation Techniques

When nerves flare up, use quick relaxation techniques to self-soothe. Visualize a peaceful nature scene, tense and relax different muscle groups, or repeat a mantra like “I am calm.” You can also close your eyes and meditate by focusing on your breathing. These tools interrupt your stress response. Practice them regularly to master how to instantly relax.

With preparation and a few coping strategies, you can head into appointments with much less dread. Don’t let dental anxiety prevent you from getting the care you need. Try out these tips for minimizing nerves and helping you feel more confident from the waiting room to the dental chair. 

Call Copperfield Dentistry in Houston, TX today at 281-643-0316 or schedule online to make your appointment.