825 S Waukegan Rd, Lake Forest, IL 60045

dental anxiety

5 Ways to Manage Dental Anxiety


Do you get nervous at the prospect of an upcoming dental appointment? You’re not alone. Dental anxiety is a common issue that affects people of all ages. This condition can make it difficult to go to the dentist to receive necessary care. People with dental anxiety experience nervousness, worry, apprehension, and even outright fear at the prospect of going to the dentist. As a result, someone with this condition may not go to the dentist for years. Problems with your dental health eventually affect your overall health, so it’s extremely important to stay up to date on checkups and cleanings. That’s why your Lake Forest dentist has compiled this list of 5 tactics to help ease your fear.

Communicate your anxieties to your dentist

Communication is key in all aspects of life, including your relationship with your dentist. Don’t be concerned to tell your dentist or a member of their staff if you are experiencing anxiety. At Lake Forest Smiles, we have assembled a team of compassionate oral health professionals. We have experience working with patients just like you who deal with these anxieties. We explain each step of the process in any procedure, and can provide the reasoning behind each action to help calm your nerves. Understanding what is happening may help you in dispelling some anxiety.

Practice breathing exercises, meditation or muscle relaxation

Deep breathing exercises significantly reduce the amount of stress you feel, no matter the situation. Try to take a deep breath through your nose, hold it for a few seconds, then breathe out slowly through your mouth. Repeat this a few times, and this can help regulate your breathing and heartbeat. Meditation and muscle relaxation can serve a similar purpose – promoting calmness and making a conscious effort to release tension in the body, while helping to reduce the amount of stress and anxiety you feel.

Give guided imagery a try

Guided imagery is an internal practice that involves visualizing a happy place to put yourself in when you’re in the middle of a perceived stressful situation. You can also use this technique with memories instead of specific places–putting yourself into the position of beloved places or memories will bring you joy, in turn helping you relax your mind.

Take an anxiety-relieving medication

For more significant cases of dental anxiety, your dentist may prescribe a short-acting anti-anxiety medication to help calm the patient for their appointment. If you experience anxiety in everyday life, you also may be able to receive a prescription from your general provider. Taking regular medication for anxiety could absolutely help with any anxiety you experience specific to dental appointments.

Consider sedation services

At Lake Forest Smiles, we provide sedation dentistry services for our patients who suffer from dental anxiety. Our methods of sedation include nitrous oxide, IV sedation and a revolutionary, drug-free method of stress intervention called NuCalm. This all-natural sedation technology is administered by our team at the beginning of the appointment. NuCalm mimics your body’s own process for winding down and preparing for sleep. Most patients can achieve deep relaxation within 3-5 minutes and will remain relaxed for the duration of their visit to our office.

Sedation dentistry in Lake Forest, Lake Bluff and Lincolnshire, Illinois

At Lake Forest Smiles, we want your dental visits to be as stress-free as possible. To learn more about NuCalm or any of our other methods of sedation, visit us online or call us at (847) 234-4800.

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