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If you find yourself avoiding your dentist and putting off scheduled dental cleanings because you are afraid of pain, you are not alone. But you also know that you cannot have a good oral health regimen if you don’t brush and floss daily and periodically see your dentist to remove the hard deposits of tartar or calculus.

So there are things you can do make your dental visit pleasant and pain-free:

— Speak with your dental team. Let them know you are anxious and they will help you find sedation medication including nitrous oxide that can help you relax.

— Arrange a “halt” signal. Many patients find raising their hand to signal the dentist or hygienist working on your teeth will help them know that you need a moment to take a breath, rinse your mouth, or that something is hurting.

— Ask for explanations. Removing the element of surprise by explaining what is happening next during the treatment helps relieve anxiety.

— Focus on your breath. No, this isn’t your meditation class, but you can bring in some of that same calmness by taking slow, deep breaths to release stress.

— Visualizing your ‘happy place”. If you have a favorite memory, whether from a movie scene or a place you have actually been, you can call up that image and focus on the way it feels, smells, sounds, and looks in your mind. A common favorite is a sunny beach or a flowery meadow.

— Listening to music. Bring your favorite songs and your ear buds to tune out the action around you and instead, tune into the sounds that make you feel happy.

These are just a few things you can do to calm yourself and face your fears. A true dental phobia may require a visit to a therapist, but for anxiety you can take action yourself.

We hope that you call us if you have any questions or concerns, and to let us know how we can make your next dental visit a relief! 801-225-1002.