3 easy ways to calm dental anxiety

May 1, 2012
Issue 5

We published an article back in 2010 about dental anxiety written by Jackie Foskett, RDH, BS, who is a Certified Hypnotherapist and founder of Healing Hypnotherapy. Foskett outlined the benefits associated with using guided relaxation in the dental office.

We published an article back in 2010 about dental anxiety written by Jackie Foskett, RDH, BS, who is a Certified Hypnotherapist and founder of Healing Hypnotherapy. Foskett outlined the benefits associated with using guided relaxation in the dental office.

This recent Washington Post article featuring Dr. Jay W. Friedman, Consumer Reports dental adviser, offers up alternative solutions to calm your patients who are experiencing extreme cases of dental anxiety.

Here are 3 tips to consider the next time you're confronted with a nervous patient:

1. Guided relaxation exercises are easy to employ with minimal training and require no special equipment. Best of all, they are natural, safe and-unlike most sedatives-have no side effects.

2. Use calming imagery, such as a serene beach setting, to support further relaxation. For some patients, you should tailor the imagery to assist in general relaxation. Look for signs of success in a lower respiration rate, a loosening of the mouth or a more relaxed hand grip.

3. Tender loving care. Sometimes simple words will ease your patient's mind: “It’s okay for you to be nervous. But you really don’t want to make me nervous. So relax."