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Techniques to Manage Anxiety at the Dentist

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For many, heading to the dentist is a time of great difficulty, and can cause severe anxiety and fear. Some common reasons behind this can include, but are not limited to:

  • general phobia towards dentists
  • a sensitivity towards pain
  • fear of needles or drills

In many cases, dental phobia can result in a complete avoidance of going to the dentist altogether, po-tentially complicating your health and aesthetic image down the road. In more extreme cases, dental neglect can result in eventual medical emergencies that could have been mitigated at an earlier date.

At Smile in the CIty, we place a great emphasis on providing our patients with a positive experience during their dental appointment. Our doctors specialize in intravenous sedation, which is a quicker, more reliable, and safer form of sedation with a lower down time.

Furthermore we offer an environment that is specifically designed to alleviate the concerns and anxie-ties that come with a trip to the dentist. From the moment that you arrive, our specialists will greet you in a tranquil setting with relaxing music where we can calmly discuss your options. In addition, here are a number of different methods that can be used prior to your appointment to better handle any expected stress that starts to bubble up before you arrive.

Sharing your Fears

While this is one of the goals of our initial discussion prior to your appointment, talking about our anxieties with others has a long psychotherapeutical history of helping us understand where the fears are actually coming from. What is causing the actual anxiety? Is it the pain? The cost? Is it the intense concentration on the build-up? Or is it that you haven’t actually been to the dentist in ages, and you simply don’t know what they’re going to find?

Contextualizing the Anxiety

In many cases, it’s effective to start placing these feelings in the bigger picture. Imagine your fears and worries. Now pull back, and imagine you’re looking down from a satellite. Your feelings should look a lot smaller. Pull back further and picture the earth. Now the solar system. And the galaxy. And eventually the universe. Putting our anxieties into perspective can help us understand that they seem a lot bigger than they actually are.

Alternatively, you do the opposite by looking at things from a microscopic level. If you get down to the fine details of what’s happening neurologically, anxiety is caused by stress hormones that are being released due to some sort of trigger (which is why understanding what that trigger is is very important). When you’re having these thoughts, it can be useful to that remind yourself that anxiety is really just a cluster of brain cells that are firing and creating a subjective experience.

Empathize with Others

If you can recognize that many others have these same anxieties, many probably at this very moment, the de-personalization effect can provide a great relief in knowing that you’re not alone. It can serve as a powerful placebo that helps your diffuse the feeling across many others and normalize it.

We’ll Play You Some Relaxing Music

Music has been shown to help alleviate stress by releasing dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with satisfaction and pleasure. This is one reason why, prior to your appointment, we play tunes and bring you into a relaxed frame of mind. We built an environment that minimizes fears and offer different degrees of sedation to patients who are too anxious to get treated without it.

Why Smile and the City?

At Smile and the City, we strive to serve the New York community with a different and more patient-centered experience for dental care. Our team of highly qualified specialists is highly trained in tech-niques to decrease phobia and provide you with a positive experience. If you are afraid to visit the dentist – Don’t be! Call us and we will do our best to allay any concerns that you may have.

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