Tips to Beat Dental Anxiety

BY Emily Birch

Are you someone who hates going to the dentist? Do you cringe at the thought of sitting in a dental chair? Many people suffer from dental anxiety, and there are a number of coping mechanisms that can help.


Perhaps the best way to find a good dentist is by word-of-mouth. Ask family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and even your primary care doctor if they like their dentist. If you’re moving to the area, ask your current dentist if they can recommend a dentist in Bozeman. You can also contact the Montana Dental Association for guidance.


Once you’ve gotten some options from asking around, make sure that you are comfortable with the dentists by visiting several practices before you settle on one. By doing this, you can see how comfortable you feel with each dentist. Can you tell them about your symptoms and ask questions about procedures? Do you feel like the dentist understands your concerns? Does the dentist explain treatment options well? Is the dentist too aggressive when he handles your teeth? You can also get a feel for the dental staff and the office as a whole this way.


Behavior management techniques help your dentist to let you gradually get used to practices by taking things slowly, explaining things to you, and letting you know what to expect. One technique is called tell-show-do, which is used to calm nervous patients. Your dentist will tell (explain what they’re going to do), show (how they are going to do it and with what instruments), and do (perform the procedure). You can ask your dentist to help manage your dental anxiety by walking you through every procedure before it’s performed, and even request that they ask you for permission before they move to the next step. This method puts you in control, which helps patients feel more comfortable about the procedures.


There have been some exciting technological innovations that can help calm your dental anxiety. There is a product called The Wand that is a computer-controlled dental injection system. It’s helpful to those who are afraid of needles. One of its biggest benefits for patients is that it doesn’t look like a needle, which puts patients instantly at ease. Once injected, the flow rate of the local anesthetic is controlled by a computer so the injection is guaranteed to be slow and steady. Other advances include quieter hand pieces and drills, numbing gels that numb the injection site so patients can’t feel the needle go in; and even an MP3 player with calming tracks. Ask your dentist about any technology they use that could make you feel more comfortable.

Your comfort is of the utmost importance to us, so please let us know if you have any issues with dental anxiety. We’ll work with you to make you feel better while you’re in our dental chair. At Bozeman Family Dentistry, we’re dedicated to providing you with the best care. Call us today to make an appointment!



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