How to Ensure a Comfortable Dental Visit

Dental phobia and dental anxiety can make it very difficult for people to keep regular dental appointments. It’s common for people to feel helpless and out of control, which may trigger anxiety. When seeking dental treatment, use these tips to find a practitioner who is concerned about patient comfort and prepared to head off any fear or anxiety.

Research the type of practice and dental care you prefer. Dentists who care for the whole body through the mouth will take the patient’s whole health into consideration and understand their concerns and goals. Be mindful of the services performed: how the visit, post-op care and follow-up are conducted. Determine if you need a provider that takes insurance. Private practices that are not affiliated with insurance companies have the discretion regarding the time spent with each patient and can cater necessary treatment specific to each patient’s desires.

Find Your Match. Recognizing the traits of a doctor that make you feel comfortable can help you find a successful match. Traits to consider are a doctor’s nurturing and caring nature, communication style and if you have a preference for a male or female. 

Consider the environment: If traffic raises your blood pressure, choose a dental practice that is conveniently located. Consider an environment that puts you at ease. Décor that is soothing and home-like can provide a relaxing feeling. Some practices offer a green building to ensure patient comfort. The use of natural light can reduce stress, as well as the use of proper ventilation and filtration of air to keep the office smelling fresh, clean and chemical-free. Efficient designs with high-tech equipment enable the dentist to go the extra mile, do things faster, better and easier with a more economical end result.

Once you’ve found the dental practice that meets your needs consider these tips to help ward off anxiety during the visit.

Stay in Control. As a patient, you want to feel in control during treatment. Agree beforehand to a method of communication so that if something makes you uncomfortable, you have a safe word or gesture that will cause the doctor or procedure to stop, immediately.

Relax and Zone out. Meditate or listen to a podcast, audio books or music with your headsets. These can give patients an alternative to focus on or to hum along to, basically, anything that can distract you, get your mind off of what’s happening and lets you go to your happy place.

Enjoy the Ambiance. Some practices have interactive 3D headsets, or TV programs that you can watch.

Discuss Medication. Some dentists can provide nitrous oxide (laughing gas), sedation or anti-anxiety medication. Alert your dentist and physician about any medication changes to make sure that there are no interactions.

Try Aromatherapy. Various essential oils are relaxing, notably lavender. Bach Rescue Remedy, a blend of five flower essences, can provide stress or anxiety relief.

Bring a friend: It can be reassuring to bring someone with you to your appointment to hold your hand and help you listen. If your dental issues will require procedures, it can be helpful to have four ears instead of just two.

Claire Stagg, DDS is the owner of Health Connections Dentistry located at 2120 Highway A1A, Indian Harbour Beach. Watch for their weekly Q&A on Facebook live each Thursday and find answers to your dental questions. For more information, call 321-777-2797 or visit

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