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Scared of the Dentist? 3 Ways to Calm Dental Anxiety

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dentist drilling toothIf the idea of going to a dental appointment reminds you of a scene from Little Shop of Horrors, you’re not alone. Some 60 million Americans avoid dental visits because of fear. Even among those who do make their appointments, an astonishing 82% say they have dental anxiety.

When you think about it, it’s not all that surprising. Lying back and opening your mouth can make you feel vulnerable. Nor can you easily communicate during procedures. How will you let the dentist know you’re in the pain you’re just sure you’ll experience? For many, negative past experiences only fuel this dread.

Yet if anxiety is stopping you from seeing your dentist, you’re missing out on a vital aspect of maintaining whole body wellness. Your teeth are a mirror to your body. Inflammation in gum tissue is linked with that in chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Routine dental visits can – and do – prevent small issues from becoming big ones.

Fortunately, you have options to help you stay comfortable and in control while getting the dental care you need.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide (N2O) has been around a long time. Most people call it laughing gas, though it doesn’t necessarily make you laugh. What it does do is relax you as you inhale it through a nose piece. Since some people need more and others less to get the same effect, your levels are constantly monitored.

With N2O, you remain aware and able to communicate. Some experience a dulled pain response, as well. There are no side effects and no “hangover” feeling when you’re done.

Conscious Sedation

Conscious sedation offers a combination of medications to help you relax. In dentistry, benzodiazepines are most often used. This family of drugs works by reducing fear-causing receptors in the brain. You probably recognize their brand names: Valium, Halcion, Xanax, Ativan.

Because such drugs tend to induce drowsiness, you will need someone to drive you home after your appointment. Their effects will linger for hours.

And if you prefer to stay drug-free?


patient relaxed with NuCalmNuCalm is our drug-free alternative of choice, using amino acid supplements, micro-current stimulation patches, headphones, and a light-blocking eye-mask. This system quickly counteracts the adrenaline your body produces when stressed and enhances a state of relaxation akin to meditation. There are no side effects.

Word of mouth referrals for using this system are strong. A full 95% who have used it say they would use it again. And 98% said they would recommend it to others.

That said, the best approach to reducing anxiety is the one that fits for you. The benefits of finding a way to relax through a dental appointment aren’t just balm for your mind; your body will benefit, too. An easier appointment can mean a shorter appointment. And a relaxed appointment can improve healing time and reduce discomfort overall. And a relaxed, pain-free appointment will provide a positive experience.

That positive experience will not only make it easier to schedule the next appointment; it will move you closer to whole body wellness.

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