Going to the dentist can be a nerve-wracking experience for some. The thought of sitting in the dentist’s chair and having someone poke around your mouth can be enough to make anyone feel uneasy. This fear can be debilitating if you have had a bad experience at the dentist in the past. But there are ways to manage dental anxiety and make your visit as comfortable as possible.

Here are a few tips on how to best manage your dental anxiety.

Find the Right Dentist

Finding the right dentist or oral surgeon who understands your needs is key to managing dental anxiety. If possible, look for someone who has experience with patients who suffer from dental anxiety or fear of the dentist. They should be understanding and willing to work with you to make your experience more comfortable.

Our oral surgeons at AZ Max Oral Surgery have helped many patients with dental anxiety feel comfortable and relaxed during their visit. We understand the importance of communication and strive to provide our patients with a safe, caring environment. 

Communication Is Key

One of the most important things you can do when managing dental anxiety is to communicate with your dentist. Explain what triggers your anxiety, and tell them about any negative past experiences. For example, if the sound of drills makes you uncomfortable, let your dentist know so they can use a quieter version or give you earplugs during the procedure. If you have a sensitive gag reflex, communicate that to your dentist so they can take extra steps to make sure you’re comfortable.

For many, knowing what is going to happen during the procedure is helpful. Speak with your dentist or oral surgeon about having a tour around the dental clinic. Ask to see the chair you will be sitting in, the tools used for the procedure, and what the procedure will involve. If you are sensitive to sounds or smells, ask them to describe what you can expect to hear or smell during your procedure. 

Try Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques can be a great way to manage dental anxiety before your dental appointment and during the visit. Before going in, try some deep breathing exercises or listen to soothing music. During the procedure, focus on taking slow, deep breaths and think of something that makes you feel calm and relaxed. Keeping your heart rate at a slow and steady pace will help you to stay calm throughout the procedure.  

Take Breaks

Speak up if you need a break during your procedure. A good dentist will be understanding and give you time to rest or regroup if you begin to feel overwhelmed.

Take Control of Your Experience

Another way to manage dental anxiety is by taking control of your experience. Listen to your favorite music or watch a movie that makes you feel calm. You could also bring a sentimental item—like a favorite toy or blanket—to help keep you calm during the procedure. Taking control of your experience can help ease any feelings of apprehension or fear you may have about visiting the dentist’s office.

Be Prepared

It helps to be prepared for your appointment beforehand so that you don’t have any surprises when you arrive at the dental office. Ensure all paperwork is filled out before arriving for your appointment, and double-check what services will be covered by insurance (if applicable). Being organized and prepared ahead of time can help reduce any feelings of stress or panic when it comes time for the actual visit itself.

If you are scheduled for oral surgery, your surgeon will give you pre and post-operative instructions. It is important that you follow these instructions carefully to ensure the surgery goes well and that you recover well after surgery. 

Dental Sedation

Dental sedation is available for those who experience intense dental fear or anxiety. Depending on your anxiety level, different options are available such as nitrous oxide sedation (laughing gas), oral sedation, and IV sedation. Talk to your dentist about what option would be best for you, and make sure that you understand all the risks associated with each type of sedation.

Experience the AZ Difference

Dealing with dental anxiety can be challenging but can be managed through preparation and communication with your surgeon. Oral surgery procedures greatly improve your quality of life, so getting control of dental fear and anxiety is well worth the effort.

Our surgical team at AZ Max is committed to making your visit comfortable and stress-free. Whether you are here for wisdom teeth removal or dental implants, we will do all we can to make sure you are comfortable and informed before beginning your procedure. Your comfort and safety are our #1 priority!If you are searching for an oral surgeon near me, contact AZ Max at (480) 830-5866 or complete the online booking form. We have four offices throughout the Phoenix East Valley and one in Show Low. We look forward to helping you with all your oral surgery needs.