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What to do About Dental Anxiety

Many people experience anxiety about dental visits. It is common to be concerned that a visit might be painful, or to be worried about what the dentist might find. Yet for some people, the thought of an appointment with the dentist can create enough fear that they avoid dental offices, creating conditions that put them at greater risk for serious dental problems.

Taking these steps can help those who are anxious, feel more in control, more relaxed and able to tackle their visit.


  • Begin by finding a dental professional that you feel you can trust. Ask friends, family, neighbors, or a trusted health professional for a referral to someone they know. Alternately, check for dentists in your area, then read reviews online and visit their websites. Many dental offices today specialize in creating a calm, relaxing environment geared to helping their patients relax.
  • Call the dental office to set an appointment for a consultation where you can express your concerns, anxieties, past experiences, and treatment goals. Set the appointment for a time when you will be less likely to be rushed or under pressure. Remember that dental technology has advanced and improved, offering new methods for diagnosis and treatment.
  • When you arrive, try relaxation exercises such as deep breathing, or practice mental distractions such as counting backward or listening to music. When you meet the dentist, talk about your fears, and ask questions about anything that worries you. Ask your dentist what to expect, and know that dentists see anxious patients daily, and they can help you through your concerns.
  • Inquire about and utilize the amenities offered in the dental office to distract or add comfort including television or headphones, pillows and blankets or light blocking glasses. Establish a signal that indicates that you’re uncomfortable, feel pain, want to rinse your mouth, or need a break, such as by lifting your hand. Don’t feel embarrassed to interrupt as needed.

If you are too overwhelmed with anxiety to follow these steps, consulting with a mental health professional can help. Establishing a relationship with a dentist you can visit with trust can help prevent serious dental and associated health issues. Sometimes just acknowledging and expressing your fears is all that’s needed in order to overcome them.

When you’re looking for a dentist who is concerned with providing you with a comfortable and relaxing experience, Dr. Heidi Finkelstein and her caring staff at My Plantation Dentist can help. To schedule your appointment, please contact us today at 954-584-1030.


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