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Tips For Relaxing During Dental Work

Tips From the Dental Chair

Sitting in the dentist chair is never pleasant for me. Luckily, my daughters still enjoy the experience — they think a cleaning is like having their teeth tickled. Inspired by their enthusiasm for oral health, I compiled a list of simple tips to make the experience of dental work a little less anxiety provoking.

  • Keep your eyes open; the visual stimulus will distract you from discomfort or pain.
  • Even with all those hands in your mouth, try to focus on your breath.
  • Bring your iPod to block out the noise of the drill.
  • Come up with a hand signal to alert the dentist when you're in pain, because a sudden movement or twitch can complicate matters.
  • Be sure to tell the dentist if you are sensitive and/or afraid. Most will be accommodating; if not, I suggest finding a new dentist.
  • Take a written list of questions and concerns so you don't forget them due to the stress of the visit.
Image Source: Getty
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Join The Conversation
Allytta Allytta 6 years
i am afraid of dentists, as a kid a had to go through something terrible on a 50 year old machine... anyway, I always tell them that I will freak out and they always try and calm me down and talk through the whole procedure. That helps a lot. It's the unknown that is freaky. And you're right - if they don't accommodate your fears than just get out.
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 6 years
I hate going to the dentist (I've only gone once in the past 10 years) because one BROKE a tooth when I was quite young. I'm getting my wisdom teeth extracted next year, eep!
justanerd1975 justanerd1975 6 years
Wow yoga4life, well don't be afraid of a root canal it's not THAT bad, all they do is shots to numb, drill a small hole,stuff it with cotton and fill over that. Unless your me, and then the 2 small teeth they did the root canals on will crack in half, and the filling with a hunk of tooth will show up randomly in your sandwitch. Then you have to pick out the cotton with tweezers, thinking "WTF? cotton!?" But apparently I am the only one this has ever happened to. They assure me this is so. Mmm hmmmm.... I guess that wasn't very encouraging. sorry.
Spectra Spectra 6 years
I've only got a few fillings, but my dentist is pretty great. She never over-numbs me; it's always just right and she's a quick and neat driller, so I'm in and out fairly quickly. I'm definitely not afraid of the dentist; guess I've always had pretty good experiences there.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 6 years
I'm doomed to spend a life with soft teeth that require frequent replacement of fillings - UGH! I'm lucky if I have a checkup where at least one filling doesn't need replaced. I'm gotten so used to having them work on my teeth. I have trigeminal neuralgia and when those seizures in the nerves along my jaw start - it's the most awful pain in the world (imo). A few years ago, the dentist decided I needed an emergency tooth extraction because they thought I had an abcessed tooth (wasn't - it was the trigeminal neuralgia). Absolutely sucked because they just shot me up with novacain and used plyers to break the tooth out of my jaw. I could smell, taste the blood as it poured out, see pieces of my tooth go flying out as it was cracking apart, hear/feel the cracking as one person held my head still while the dentist broke the tooth. So awful - next time - put me under! Then a year ago, the seizures started up again, and they decided to drill away the center of one of my upper teeth (sort of like a root canal - but deeper into the jaw). Well they didn't have the dental (sponge?) they needed to insert into my jaw, so they put strands of cotton ball inside my jaw until the sponge could arrive. The sponge arrives like 2 week later, by then my nerve had shifted and they had to keep drilling for what seemed hours up into my jaw. They kept taking x-rays with these metal rods measuring how far into the jaw they were - I swear they were almost ready to come out my nose! ugh...very gross and painful. I'm not sure if that is more painful than a root canal but if I ever need one of those, I think I'll pass!
2muchtv 2muchtv 6 years
Don't look at the dentist, look at the ceiling. It's pretty creepy seeing a masked face looking back at you. I'd advise against the ipod, personally. While getting my tooth pulled (wisdom teeth, fun!), my dentist had to give me instructions and asked for feedback (you're OK, right? yes *um, sleepy, that was a yawn*) Bring Chapstick
Soniabonya Soniabonya 6 years
I haven't been to the dentist in years (thanks to crappy insurance!!!) but I never liked going. For some reason I hear every single minute thing going on in my mouth when on the chair. Everything is amplified, including the pain and anxiety. Even when I had ear phones on full blast and "watched" a movie, I could hear/feel everything that dentist was doing. I cringe just thinking about.
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