Does the mere idea of seeing the dentist make you nervous and worried? Anxiety about dental exams is very common. While many patients choose to manage their dental anxiety with oral or inhaled sedatives, this may not be an option if you are sensitive to these medications. Thankfully, there are some good ways to manage your dental anxiety without medications. Here's a look.

Deep Breathing

Practice some deep breathing techniques before your dental appointment. This way, you'll know exactly how to use them to bring your anxiety level or blood pressure down as you sit in the dental chair. A good deep breathing technique to try is called "square breathing." There are four steps, and you do each to the count of three: inhale and hold, exhale and hold. Repeat this pattern a few times, and you will feel so much more relaxed.


Find a few songs that make you feel relaxed and at ease. These may be songs that you already associate with a pleasant experience or place that you enjoy. Put them all in a playlist on your phone, and bring your headphones to your dental appointment. Then, listen to this soothing music while your dentist does their work.

Talking About It

Have you ever noticed that when something is bothering you, talking to a friend about it makes you feel a whole lot better? You can employ this tactic to help ease your dental anxiety. Ask a friend or family member if they will listen to you "vent" for a few minutes. Explain to them exactly what it is about seeing the dentist that has you so worried. Sometimes, just voicing your concerns will help you realize how silly they really are. Plus, your friend or family member can offer some reassurance, which will help calm your worries further.

Choosing the Right Dentist

A dentist's skill does not always mean they're the right dentist for everyone. If your dentist's disposition makes you feel more nervous, feel free to find a new dentist. Look for an office where the receptionist, hygienist, and dentist are all calm and reassuring. The change in environment should help you handle the anxiety you were feeling at the previous dental office. Also, don't be afraid to tell your dentist about the anxiety you're experiencing. They can then work more slowly and explain things to make you feel more comfortable throughout the process..