Most people don’t like going to the doctor’s office, but the dentist is even worse. Whether it’s the sterile smell, the tools the dentist is likely to put in your mouth, the possibility of pain, or the fear of just how much your visit is going to cost, there are many reasons why you might feel stressed and anxious the next time you need to make an appointment.

Going to the dentist doesn’t have to be so terrible! There are things you can do to feel much more comfortable at the dentist’s office.

Ask to See the Tools They Will Be Using

It can feel like you’re subjecting yourself to some kind of cruel torture when you go the dentist’s office. They put their fingers in your mouth, the different kinds of toothpastes and goops they put in your mouth don’t taste good, and the tools they use can be downright terrifying. Especially if you can’t really see what they are using.

Knowing what those tools look like and knowing what they will be used for can make a big difference in how you feel. Ask the dentist or dental assistant to show you the dental abrasives and tools they will be using in your mouth during your appointment, and ask them to tell you what they will be used for and how long they think it might take. When you see what’s going into your mouth and you know they will only be using the tool for a few minutes, you will feel a little bit better about how your appointment is going to go.

Make an Appointment at the Right Time

Dentists do things a little differently than other medical professionals and businesses. They have very limited hours, but that doesn’t mean you should just make an appointment whenever it is convenient for them. Try and make an appointment for a time that works for you too.

For example, if you’re anxious about going to the dentist, you should schedule your appointment first thing in the morning. That way you don’t spend the day getting more and more anxious about it.

If taking time off of work is difficult, you may want to make an appointment in the afternoon. That way, you can take off early and you don’t have to worry about going back into the office when your appointment is over.

Bring Someone With You

If you’re nervous about going to see the dentist, you may find yourself even more anxious if you have to go alone. Consider bringing someone with you to help you feel better.

Having someone with you in the waiting room, and even in the exam room, if needed, can help you feel like you aren’t alone. That person can also act as your health advocate. They can speak for you if you’re having trouble communicating with your dentist, whether due to nerves or because they have their fingers in your mouth.

Listen to Music or an Audio Book

Music has a profound effect on our health. Listening to music has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety during surgery, so it should come as no surprise that listening to music during your appointment can help your nerves too.

Audio books can work just as well, as can podcasts. Just make sure you tell your dentist and their staff that you plan on having headphones in your ears to help calm your nerves during your appointment.

Don’t Shy Away From Going to a New Dentist

Sometimes, there isn’t a whole lot you can do about your experience at the dentist’s office simply because your dentist isn’t a good fit for you. Although it can be kind of a pain, you shouldn’t shy away from looking for a different dentist.

A few tips for finding a dental office that you’ll like include:

  • Find a dentist with an approach to preventative dentistry that matches your own.
  • How does the dentist deal with emergencies after office hours?
  • Look for an office with hours that work with your schedule.

How the dentist and the staff in the office make you feel is important too. If you feel like you’re being rushed out the door or if the dentist likes to jab and poke, you should find someone else.

Going to the dentist is important to your health. Don’t skip your appointments because you’re scared! There are plenty of things you can do to feel more at ease in the dentist’s office.