Managing Dental Fear or Anxiety

Do you feel nervous about visiting the dentist? You’re not alone. According to one study, as many as 1 in 6 adults and 1 in 10 children in Australia have high dental fear.

Dental anxiety is fear, anxiety and stress associated with the dental setting. Many things can trigger dental fear, including a bad experience in the past, the noises and smells, fear of pain, fear of needles, trust issues etc. Overcoming dental anxiety is important as regular visits to the dentist contribute to the health of your teeth and gums but more importantly, your overall health as well.

Below are some of the tools used here at Corner 32 Dental to help manage dental anxiety and make your experience as pain-free and comfortable as possible:

  1. Talk to your dentist

Communicating with your dentist that you have dental anxiety is the most efficient way to help overcome your fear. We will make sure that you feel comfortable discussing your worries with us so that we can assist in any way that we can. Corner 32 is a 100% judgment-free zone so there will never be a need to feel ashamed or embarrassed about your feelings of anxiety or dental concerns in general. Letting us know when you make an appointment is a good way for our team to be best prepared. We can also provide you with a special form (called “Handle Me With Care”) which can help us identify exactly what your triggers may be and minimise exposure to those triggers as a way of managing your dental fear and anxiety.

  1. Happy gas

Happy gas (nitrous oxide), also known as laughing gas, can be helpful for patients who have dental anxiety. You are still awake and can communicate with the dentist, however you will feel relaxed and calm during the procedure. Happy gas wears off a few minutes after the treatment is done, so you can easily continue on with your day. Ask us about how happy gas works if you feel it might benefit you.

  1. Weighted blanket

Weighted blankets are used for people with general anxiety and can definitely have benefits in the dental setting. Weighted blankets apply deep touch pressure which has been proven to have a calming effect. Pairing this with other anxiety reducing techniques can have a very positive impact. Ask us about weighted blankets if you think it might help you feel less anxious.

  1. Music/headphones

Here at Corner 32 Dental, we have our own wireless Bluetooth headphones that you can wear so that you can listen to music during your treatment and drown out some of the unpleasant sounds such as those of the dental drill. You may also use your own if you prefer. We always have music playing in the reception area and clinic rooms to make sure the environment is comfortable and relaxed.

  1. Essential oils

Essential oils can be helpful for people with dental anxiety. Here at Corner 32 Dental, we use the Young Living essential oil diffuser to relax patients while in the waiting room. Oils such as lavender, jasmine and valerian are scientifically proven to reduce anxiety if a few drops are placed on a tissue and inhaled before treatment. Essential oils can also be rubbed into the temples to ease tension. Always consult your physician before use of oils.