How To Manage Dental Office Anxiety

If you get butterflies in your stomach just thinking about a trip to the dentist, you’re not alone. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, about 40 million Americans avoid going to a dentist because of fear and anxiety.

Many people become uncomfortable and nervous as soon as they enter the dentist’s office. Most dentists offer a clean, well-maintained reception area with soothing, warm and inviting colors to help reduce stress levels and nervous energy.

  • Noise cancelling headphones – The sounds in a dental office can trigger apprehension and stressful feelings.  Noise cancelling headphones reduce unwanted ambient sounds by drowning out all noises.
  • Television – This source of entertainment diverts attention and takes your mind off the fact that you’re in a dentist’s office.
  • DVD Player – Kept in a reception area, movies can keep ‘little ones’ occupied.
  • Stress Balls – These malleable balls can be squeezed with one or both hands to reduce stress and tension.
  • Ipod – Using an iPod in the office to listen to your favorite music or positive affirmations reduces any negative energy you may be feeling.
  • Relaxation breathing or Progressive Muscle Relaxation – These techniques can be done on your own prior to beginning any dental procedures.

By using breathing/relaxation techniques and audio/visual diversions, stressful situations can be managed better and turn your dental visit into a pleasant experience.


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