Dental anxiety affects an estimated 36% of American adults, with 12% having an extreme fear that prevents them from seeking essential dental care. At Ardsley Dental Spa in Ardsley, New York, our team addresses this fear to make dental visits a comfortable experience for everyone.
If you need help overcoming dental anxiety, explore expert advice from our compassionate dentists on regaining control of your oral health journey.
Understanding your dental anxiety
Anxiety is a feeling of unease or worry that can cause physical symptoms such as upset stomach, headaches, and muscle tension. Many things can trigger anxious feelings; with dental anxiety, these triggers include:
- Fear of needles
- Fear of the unknown (not knowing what’s happening during treatment)
- Fear of gagging or choking
- Fear of pain
- Feeling a loss of control
- Dental sounds, e.g., dental drills
- The feeling of personal space being invaded
Dr. Hinna Chaudhry and her team emphasize the significance of open communication with your dentist about your fears and concerns. That allows the Ardsley Dental Spa team to create a more comfortable environment.
How to overcome dental anxiety
The good news is there are ways to deal with your dental anxiety:
Acknowledge your anxiety
The first step in conquering dental anxiety (or any type of anxiety) is recognizing and accepting your feelings. Many therapists call this the Name It to Tame It method. In addition to acknowledging your anxiety, focus on pinpointing your specific triggers as well.
Choose a supportive dentist
Selecting the right dentist can make all the difference in managing dental anxiety. At Ardsley Dental Spa, we take pride in our gentle approach, prioritizing patient comfort and well-being.
Explore sedation options
Ardsley Dental Spa offers dental sedation options such as laughing gas and oral sedation. Dental sedation eases anxiety by relaxing your mind.
Try positive reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in managing dental anxiety. Celebrate small victories to boost your confidence and gradually alleviate fear.
For example, if anxiety makes it hard for you to schedule dental visits, reward yourself for taking action and making your next appointment. Treat yourself to a new book or a yummy treat after each small victory.
Practice mindfulness to reduce stress
Mindfulness techniques like meditation or visualization can help you stay grounded in the present, fostering a sense of calm during dental procedures. Deep breathing exercises also help shift your brain out of flight-or-fight mode and into a more relaxed state.
You can practice mindfulness before and during your appointments.
Prepare for your appointment
If you’re feeling nervous before your dental appointment, keep these tips in mind:
- Schedule morning appointments (so you don’t have to think about them all day)
- Eat breakfast (skipping a meal can make your blood sugar drop and worsen anxiety)
- Listen to calming music on your drive over
- Practice deep breathing
- Use positive affirmations
If you’d like to wear earphones or listen to music during your appointment, please let us know. We’re also more than happy to narrate what’s happening during your visit — again, some people prefer to know — but if you’d rather not know, that’s OK too.
Consider mental health treatment
Because dental anxiety can be part of generalized anxiety disorder, don’t discount the potential benefits of mental health care. With the right treatment, anxiety doesn’t have to hold you back. Common anxiety treatments include therapy, lifestyle modifications, and medication.
Struggling with dental anxiety? Let us know!
Dental anxiety should never stand in the way of optimal oral health. If anxiety is holding you back from achieving a healthy and beautiful smile, we can help. Call us at 914-875-2049 or book your visit online.