managing dental phobias

Managing Dental Phobias

When managing dental phobia’s, it is best to combine several psychological strategies. Surveys report that 13% to 24% of people are afraid of going to the dentist. In most cases, dental anxiety is unpleasant but does not interfere with health. People whose dental fear is severe, however, may so dread the thought of going to the dentist that they cancel appointments, delay seeking care, and sometimes wind up needing more invasive and painful procedures as a result. Although medications such as Diazepam (Valium) and Lorazepam (Ativan) may help reduce anxiety, they are best used in conjunction with various cognitive, educational, and behavioral strategies.  Hypnosis involves a state of deep relaxation attained through a combination of the below techniques.

Breathing Techniques

Deep breathing can counter physical and mental tension. One simple method to foster deep breathing is to breathe in slowly and count to five before exhaling to another count of five.

breathing technique

Muscle Relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation (tensing and then releasing one group of muscles at a time in order to promote whole-body relaxation) can help to slow heart rate and promote calmness.


Putting the mind’s focus elsewhere is another way to diminish the anxiety and pain of dental visits.

VR Drug Free Sedation

VR Drug Free Sedation is used to mentally transport patients to a calming place. The virtual reality aspect is what provides the anxiolytic effect. Patients using the VR headset report less anxiety and less pain during dental procedures.

VR Drug Free Sedation

Nitrous Oxide Sedation

Nitrous Oxide sedation is a safe and effective sedative agent that is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask that fits over your nose to help you relax. Nitrous Oxide, sometimes called “laughing gas,” is one option your dentist may offer to help make you more comfortable during certain procedures.

nitrous oxide sedation

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