5 Tips to Reduce Dentist and Doctor Anxiety

Do you struggle with dentist or doctor anxiety? Many of us have gotten out of the habit of seeing our dentists and doctors over the past year because of the pandemic. Many people experience anxiety about going to the dentist or doctor, but with the pandemic this has gotten even worse. Dentists are reporting that the pandemic has been especially difficult on our teeth as many of us have skipped the dentist the past year and have also taken to clenching or grinding our teeth to deal with stress.

A dentist chair can be scary and cause anxiety

Do you struggle with anxiety about going to the doctor or dentist? You aren’t alone!

If you struggle, it is extremely. Here are some things you can do.

If you have never been to see this provider before, call them before going and let them know what you are dealing with. Share that you are nervous about going or have anxiety. If you have not been to the doctor or dentist in a long time, share this with them. Then, you can see if their reaction is supportive or judgmental before you book your appointment. Ask the receptionist if they have a recommendation of which provider at the practice is most understanding.

You can also ask them if they have any recommendations or things, they can do to make your appointment easier or more comfortable. For example, some doctors may recommend you take an earlier appointment in the day so they can spend more time with you. Some dentists will let you know if they have TV or other distractions to make your appointment easier.

If you struggle with calling to make an appointment, try a provider who uses an online booking system. You can check out the app ZocDoc which allows you to make all your appointments online.

Anxiety can make us want to cancel our appointment and back out at the last minute. However, it’s important to remember that avoiding something only makes our anxiety temporarily better. Over time, when you chronically avoid doing something, you will actually feel more anxious over time.

If you are someone who has a history of cancelling, here are some ideas that may make it less tempting.

1. See if you can have a friend or family member go with you. Tell loved ones about your appointment and ask them to check in with you before and after to help keep you accountable

2. Write out all the excuses you may come up with in order to cancel. Try to eliminate any excuse. For example, give yourself plenty of time before and after, or make sure they take your insurance before you book.

3. Bring things to do in the waiting room or during your appointment (for the dentist), bring headphones, a book, something to fidget with so you can distract yourself.
4. Try to envision how good it is going to feel to after your appointment completed

5. Once you find a provider you like, get into the habit of setting up follow up appointments when you are at the office rather. This will make it more likely you go and help you get into the habit of going regularly.
Would you try any of these?

At Therapy for Women, we are here to help you work through your anxiety about a variety of situations, including seeing the dentist, doctor or other appointments. Contact us to learn more or get started!