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5 Tips for Overcoming Dental Anxiety

Many people put off going to the dentist due to intense fear and anxiety about the experience. In fact, about 20% of Americans only go to the dentist when absolutely necessary, and almost eight percent avoid going altogether.

Does this sound like you? We can help.

Dr. Ali Saeghi and our team at Modern Age Dentistry want to change the dental experience for the better. When you visit one of our offices in Los Angeles, Ojai, or West Hills, California, you’re immediately welcomed by our caring staff, including our resident therapy dog. Our furry therapist is an expert at ensuring you feel safe and stress-free during your visit.

While we make every effort to make your visit comfortable and positive, we also understand that overcoming anxiety can often be a mental challenge. That’s why we’ve compiled these five tips to help you overcome your dental anxiety.

Speak up about your fears

The most important step to addressing your dental anxiety is to speak up. Don’t hesitate to tell our staff member as you’re scheduling your appointment about anything that makes you nervous or uncomfortable. They’ll be sure to note it down in your file.

Once you come in, it’s okay to reiterate to our dental hygienists and Dr. Saeghi that you’re feeling anxious about certain aspects of your visit. Our team is here to listen. We want to understand what makes you anxious, so we can offer solutions to make you feel more comfortable.

Agree on a signal

Some patients feel anxious because they can’t talk or move once the dental procedure is underway. That’s why we suggest agreeing on a signal, such as raising your left hand, with our team members before getting started. 

If at any point you feel anxious or uncomfortable during your dental procedure, just make the signal and we will pause to let you take a break.

Bring distractions

Do you have a favorite playlist or podcast? Bring your headphones so you can listen to something that will distract your mind and help you relax during your visit. 

If you prefer not to listen to anything, you can also bring a stress ball or fidget spinner to help you squeeze (or spin) your stress away! 

And don’t forget, our resident therapy dog, Princess, is available to help you feel more at ease during your visit. If you would like to have Princess present during your dental visit, don’t hesitate to mention this to our receptionist or any staff member.

Practice mindfulness before and during your visit

You don’t need to go through a full yoga routine to experience the therapeutic effects of mindfulness. Before your dental visit, take five minutes to sit in a comfortable space. Breathe in slowly for four counts, then breathe out for four counts. Repeat this five times.

If you feel your stress levels rising as Dr. Saeghi is cleaning your teeth, try doing this breathing exercise again (taking care to breathe through your nose and not your mouth). If this still doesn’t help, use your agreed-upon signal to let Dr. Saeghi or our team members know you need a break.

Don’t let one bad experience dictate the rest

We know it’s easier said than done to get past certain anxieties. However, through practice, open communication, and mindfulness techniques, we believe you can overcome your dental anxiety and feel more at ease about your next dental visit. 

Here at Modern Age Dentistry, we focus on creating a positive and comfortable experience for each of our patients. 

If you’re ready to experience our “modern” take on the dental visit, contact us at the closest location to you.

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