8 Steps to Reduce Anxiety and Relax at the Dentist - The John Fornetti Dental Center

8 Steps to Reduce Anxiety and Relax at the Dentist

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8 Ways to Relax at the Dentist's Office

Do you dread going the dentist? Does the thought of sitting in an examination room make your stomach drop? Do you despise the feeling of dental instruments in your mouth? Although it can be difficult to eliminate the fear and anxiety of going to the dentist entirely, there are many ways that you can help alleviate those fears and relax. We compiled a short list here to help you alleviate some of the stress of visiting the dentist.


1. Communicate

Although your dentist may be able to tell if you are nervous or uncomfortable, he or she can better help you if express your anxiety. Letting your dentist know that you have a fear of dentistry is an important first step in relaxation. When your dentist is informed about your fear, he or she can adjust how they treat you to make you feel more comfortable. This will open a dialogue about what is best for you.


2. Focus on Each Step of the Procedure, Not Everything at Once

At first glance, many dental procedures can seem complicated and overwhelming, but breaking down each step your treatment plan can be helpful in reducing those feelings. Your dentist should be happy to go through what exactly the treatment will entail.


3. Listen to Relaxing Music

Music can help bring your mind to a happier place while at the dentist. Some dentists have relaxing music to play, and many will let you bring your own to listen to. Just make sure that what you clear it with your dentist first!


4. Just Breathe

Deep-breathing exercises are universally used as a relaxation technique, and they can be easily performed during your treatment —but be sure to breathe through your nose. Trying to breathe through your mouth while a dentist or hygienist is working is difficult, and can cause more stress to you. Concentrate on breathing deeply, in and out, through your nose. We talked to our hygienist, Kaitlin, who said, “When there are instruments going in your mouth, just breathe through your nose and relax.”


5. Try Meditating

Meditation is another widely-used relaxation technique, and while it requires a little more focus than deep-breathing, it can be a great way to keep calm in the chair. There are many of ways to meditate, even during an in-depth treatment or cleaning.


6. Ask for a Morning Appointment

Scheduling your appointment in the morning can help with dental anxiety because it allows you to wake up, get in, and get out right in the morning. This minimizes the amount of your day you spend dwelling on the appointment we know you aren’t looking forward to. Another perk is that when you are done, you can just go along with the rest of your day and maybe even treat yourself with a reward for going to the dentist.


7. Bring a Family Member or Friend with You

Having the presence of someone you know in the treatment room can be a huge help with anxiety. They relieve anxiety by chatting, holding hands, or simply giving a reassuring glance from time to time. Most dental offices should be fine with having an extra person in the room to help you relax.


8. Ask about Sedation Options

Sedation dentistry is another useful option when it comes to treating fear of dentists. Ask about the different types of sedation options at the office you’re visiting. Many offer heavier sedation for in-depth treatments or laughing gas for simpler treatments or cleanings.



As dentists, we realize that hardly anyone is thrilled to visit our office, but we will do everything we can to work with you to minimize anxiety. We want to provide the most pleasant experience possible. That is why at The John Fornetti Dental Center we developed our comfort menu, which includes a multitude of items and services to help you feel cared for and comfortable. To view our comfort menu, click here.

By using these tips and tricks, going to the dentist doesn’t have to be an anxiety-inducing experience. Because your dental health matters to us, we will do whatever it takes to ensure your complete satisfaction. If you would like to have a welcoming, compassionate experience with your dentist, please call us at 906-774-0100 to set up an appointment today!