Tips for nervous dental patients to reduce anxiety

Tips for nervous dental patients to reduce anxiety

Dental phobia is more common than you might think. If you feel anxious about visiting the dentist you are not alone. More than half (53%) of the UK population have a fear of dentists, with around 17% admitting that this prevents them from getting check ups or treatment. This is obviously terrible news for oral health as it is these appointments that keep people smiling, and pain free. Dentists exist to help their patients speak, eat and smile confidently and minimise pain and tooth loss, but it’s hard for us to do this when our patients are too afraid to visit. Thankfully, we are very experienced in this and offer a range of additional services and calming techniques to help nervous dental patients.

Firstly, let’s look at what might be causing your anxiety, then reveal how our practice caters for nervous dental patients and finally share some tips on how you can overcome your fear of dentists.

What causes dental anxiety?

Dental phobia can range from mild anxiety the day before your appointment to panic attacks and physically being unable to step inside the dental surgery. Wherever on the scale you find yourself, this fear can make life quite difficult and could mean your oral health will suffer as a result.

There are many things that can cause and trigger dental anxiety from the sound of the dentist’s drill, to a fear of the unknown ahead of a treatment or a previous bad experience, particularly one you can trace back to childhood.

How we treat nervous dental patients

Whatever the cause of your anxiety, here at Marsh House Specialist Dentists we take it very seriously. All of our dental team and staff are experienced in treating nervous dental patients and do everything we can to make your visit to us as stress free as possible.

Some of techniques we offer to help relieve dental anxiety include: 

  • Providing a calming and relaxing environment with a friendly team on hand to listen to your concerns.
  • Offering tours of our practice beforehand, so you know what to expect ahead of your appointment.
  • Offering dental sedation to those patients who want to feel calm and relaxed during treatment. This might be in the form of gas that you breathe in, a sedative injection or The Wand - our fantastic pain free injection that delivers anaesthetic without you feeling it.
  • Playing relaxing music. You can also bring your own earphones and headphones so you can listen to your own music. This is a great way to block out any of the sounds that might distract or worry you. 

We really do go the extra mile to make sure you feel comfortable and relaxed, but don’t just take our word for it, visit our nervous patients page and read our testimonials, like this one below from Angelo:

“I am absolutely delighted that I chose Marsh House. I had heard good reports however I was so surprised how kind all the staff were to me (especially Laura and Karen) making me feel completely relaxed as I am rather nervous. The ambience of the practice is superb, lovely decorated and very clean. And I am even more impressed with my smile. It has been an extremely good experience from start to finish. Dr Anas you are a star. I highly recommend this practice.”

How to overcome fear of dentists

There are also things that you can do, as a patient, to help overcome your fear of dentists.

  • Make your concerns heard - speak to us about your fears when you book your appointment, when you arrive, or when you sit in the dentist’s chair. There is no need to suffer in silence, and the more we understand about how you are feeling, the more we can do to help you.
  • Practise relaxation and deep breathing techniques ahead of your visit, whilst waiting for your appointment and during treatment. This might include:
  • Practise 7-11 breathing. This is where you breathe in for the count of seven and breathe out for the count of eleven. Make sure you breathe deeply - i.e. so your diaphragm moves down and your stomach pushes out - to help you feel the full relaxation benefits.
  • Practise the clenched fist method. This is where you sit comfortably and clench your hands into the tightest fists possible. Focus on what your fists feel and look like and notice how the tension spreads up your arms and into your shoulders. Then, close your eyes and allow your fists to slowly unwind. Concentrate on the relaxation that is slowly flowing through your fingers, up your arms and into your shoulders and back. Let this relaxation spread throughout your body, feeling your brows, your jaw, your chest, your legs and your toes relax. Repeat as often as you need to.
  • Ask one of our team to sit with you whilst you have your check up or treatment. Sometimes it helps to just have a friendly face reassuring you.

If you are worried about your upcoming trip to our practice or you have been putting off your dental check up due to your fear of dentists, we encourage you to get in touch with us to find out how we can take your worries away. Visit our nervous dental patients page for more information or call us on 020 8646 6200 to book an appointment.