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7 Natural Remedies to Ease Your Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety is an understandable and widely shared experience.  Approximately 75% of adults in the U.S. experience some form of dental fear (1).

Many people, from young children to senior citizens, feel a sense of unease or outright fear at the thought of visiting the dentist. This fear can stem from different sources - past experiences, the fear of the unknown, horror stories shared by others, or even the simple discomfort of having someone working so close to your face.

So if you're someone who experiences dental anxiety, you are not alone. Countless individuals deal with such anxious feelings before stepping into the dentist's chair. In this guide, we'll explore 7 natural remedies to help you manage and overcome your dental anxiety, making your next visit to the dentist a more comfortable and less daunting experience.

Remedy #7: Establish a Calming Pre-Visit Routine

Establishing a calming pre-visit routine is a powerful tool for managing dental anxiety. 

This process promises a structured and serene start to your day, which in turn helps reduce the nervousness that often surrounds dental visits. Remember, the aim here is to create a routine that allows you to transition smoothly and calmly toward your appointment.

So how do you go about crafting a calming pre-visit routine? 

Start by waking up early enough to avoid any rush, allowing yourself plenty of time to perform your routine at a relaxed pace. Consider incorporating activities that promote tranquility and relaxation. This could range from reading an uplifting book to practicing gentle morning stretches or yoga. 

Another important component of a calming pre-visit routine is a nutritious, anxiety-busting breakfast. Opt for foods rich in proteins like eggs and Greek yogurt, or complex carbohydrates found in whole grains, as they can help stabilize your mood and keep your energy balanced throughout the day. 

Lastly, leave for your appointment early to avoid any stress associated with running late. Account for possible traffic or transit delays when planning your departure time. This extra buffer not only ensures you make it on time, but also provides a few spare moments to compose yourself in the car or waiting room before your visit. 

Considering these tips in developing a calming pre-visit routine is a simple, yet effective, step towards combating dental anxiety naturally. After all, fostering a harmonious morning sets the tone for a less stressful dental visit.

Remedy #6: Communicate Openly with Your Dentist About Your Fear

Building a positive relationship with your dentist is of utmost importance when dealing with dental anxiety. To do this, communicate openly about your fears and worries. 

Your dentist is a healthcare professional who understands the deep-seated fears that a dental visit can elicit. Plus, they are trained to work with patients who suffer from various levels of dental anxiety. 

Communicating effectively with your dentist and their team can help manage your nerves, so you don't have to resort to using medication. Your dentist wants the best outcome for you, and that includes a comfortable and stress-free environment. 

By making your dentist aware of your anxiety, they can adjust their treatment approach to accommodate your needs. Remember, you are not alone - many people suffer from dental anxiety, and your dentist is there to help. 

Here are some tips on how to communicate effectively with your dentist: 

  • Be transparent: Share your feelings about the dental visit and treatment. Be clear and honest about your anxiety level.
  • Use a signal system: Establish a signal system with your dentist. This could be as simple as raising your hand if you need them to stop the procedure for a moment.
  • Express your fear: Describe your fear in detail to your dentist. This might feel challenging, but it will help your dentist understand how best to support you.
  • Ask questions: If you're unsure about any part of the procedure, don't hesitate to ask. A better understanding of what's happening can ease your fear.
  • Schedule a non-treatment visit: Arrange for a 'get to know you' session with your dentist before your first treatment. This helps to build trust and relieve anxiety.

Through open and constructive communication, you'll become more comfortable with your dental visits. Remember, it’s perfectly okay to have fears - it’s how we address and manage those fears that make all the difference.

Remedy #5: Use Deep Breathing and Meditation Techniques

Imagine being in control of your body's response to stress. This can be achieved through the combined forces of deep breathing and meditation, two remarkably effective techniques for naturally managing dental anxiety.

But – just how can we harness these techniques to our advantage? 

Deep breathing works on a physiological level. It's not just an old wives' tale. When we're stressed or anxious, our bodies switch into 'fight or flight' mode. Our breath becomes shallow and our hearts race. 

By consciously taking deep, measured breaths, we're able to counteract this biological response. It sends a message to our brains to calm down and relax (2). Now, let's pair this with the power of meditation. 

Meditation, a practice originating from ancient traditions, has become increasingly popular in today's fast-paced world. It offers a multitude of benefits, including stress reduction and improved mental wellness. 

When it comes to dental anxiety, meditation can act as a distraction technique helping you distance yourself from your source of anxiety. 

A Mini-Guide to Deep Breathing and Meditation for Dental Anxiety: 

  1. Find a Comfortable Position: Before you start, make sure you're comfortably seated or lying down in a quiet, distraction-free environment.
  2. Deep Breathing: The practice begins with a few rounds of deep breathing. Breathe in slowly through your nose for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, then exhale through your mouth for a count of 4. Repeat this cycle a few times.
  3. Mindful Meditation: Once you've practiced deep breathing, it's time to meditate. Focus your attention on your breath. Notice how your body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath.
  4. Visualization: In this final step, picture yourself in a calm and stress-free dental appointment. Visualize everything going smoothly. This mental rehearsal helps to reduce anxiety and fear.

Making this practice part of your daily routine, and especially focusing on it before dental appointments, can be pivotal in managing your dental anxiety. Remember, it's all about progression—not perfection. The key is consistency. 

The more you practice, the better you'll become at easing your dental fears through these techniques.

Remedy #4: Try Music Therapy

Imagine you're sitting in a dental chair, heart racing, hands sweating, as the bright light above you flickers. Suddenly, soft and soothing tunes flood your ears, drowning the scary hum of dental tools...

Music can indeed be a powerful ally when it comes to dental anxiety. It occupies your mind and distracts from fretful thoughts, and the beats can even be used to regulate your breathing, thus acting as an exceptional calming influence (3). 

Music therapy runs on the principle that our brains respond positively to rhythmic and melodic sounds. It lowers the levels of cortisol, the body's primary stress hormone, and encourages the production of endorphins, known as the 'feel good' hormones. 

This hormone game plays a cardinal part in reducing dental anxiety. When combined with visualization, it can transport you in your mind to a serene and calm world, away from the dentist’s chair. 

Building your own custom playlist can be useful. Here are a few tips to do so: 

  • Choose slow, soft, and soothing music that you genuinely enjoy. This could be classical, instrumental, or even a lullaby.
  • Include ambient sounds such as nature sounds for a more immersive calming experience.
  • Avoid chaotic, loud, or high-tempo music as it may increase rather than reduce anxiety.

Remember, the goal of your playlist is not just to calm anxiety but also to take you on a mental journey that is far removed from the dental chair. So, let the music take control and soothe your dental fears away.

Remedy #3: Explore Using Aromatherapy

For thousands of years, the art of aromatherapy has been used to soothe the mind and uplift the spirit. This ancient practice can also be a potent ally when it comes to alleviating dental anxiety. 

Aromatherapy is the inhalation or topical application of essential oils and it can have a profound impact on your mood and emotions.

When used in a dental setting, essential oils can help to promote a sense of tranquility and relaxation, reducing anxiety levels and making your dental visits a calmer and more manageable experience. 

There are a multitude of essential oils that can be profoundly helpful in managing dental anxiety. Here are some recommendations: 

Lavender Essential Oil 

Lavender is widely known for its calming and sedative qualities. A few drops of this essential oil on your pillow or wrist can help to promote a state of relaxation before your dental appointment. 

Peppermint Essential Oil 

Peppermint essential oil is known for its refreshing and invigorating scent. In addition to its calming influence, peppermint can also help to reduce any feelings of nausea or discomfort which can sometimes accompany dental anxiety. 

Chamomile Essential Oil 

Chamomile essential oil is renowned for its ability to soothe anxiety and induce a sense of calm. Applying a few drops of chamomile oil on the skin or clothing can help foster a peaceful environment during your dental visits (4). 

Quick Tip: You must make sure to dilute essential oils with a carrier oil (like almond or coconut oil) before applying them to your skin to avoid any potential skin sensitivity or irritation. 

By incorporating aromatherapy into your dental visit routine, you can help to make your dental experiences more pleasant and less stressful.

Remedy #2: Exercise and Physical Activity

Let's explore another powerful natural remedy for anxiety and stress - exercise.

Science has shown that physical activity can play a pivotal part in reducing overall anxiety levels. Those feel-good endorphins released during exercise can create a sense of well-being and relaxation, making it easier for you to handle anxiety-inducing situations such as dental visits (5). 

Maintaining regular physical exercise, even light activities, has been associated with lower anxiety levels and improved mood. But what about on the actual day of your dentist appointment? You might be wondering, "What exercises can I do before my dental visit?" 

Light exercises such as a brisk walk in the park, some stretching, or even a few yoga poses can be extremely beneficial (5).  For example, the 'Child's Pose' in yoga is a well-known posture for stress relief. It softly stretches your back muscles while allowing you to focus on your breathing, thus promoting a sense of calm. Another light exercise, such as a leisurely bike ride, can also help ease the mind and invigorate the body. 

The objective is not an intense workout, but rather to engage in an activity that can help divert your mind from the impending dental visit and flood your brain with mood-lifting endorphins. A relaxed body often leads to a tranquil mind, making the dental chair feel a little less intimidating. 

Just make sure you allow adequate time post-exercise to shower and freshen up before heading to your dental appointment, as good personal hygiene is just as important for your visit.

Remedy #1: Use Mindfulness and Visualization Prior To and During Your Dental Visit

Topping our list of natural remedies to manage dental anxiety are the powerful tools of mindfulness and visualization.

Mindfulness, simply put, is the art of being fully present in the moment (6). When we're faced with anxiety, our minds can race, flooding us with distressing thoughts and predictions about our imminent dental visit. 

But, practicing mindfulness brings us back to the present moment, allowing us to focus on the here and now and providing an interruption from our worry-filled thoughts.

A simple mindfulness exercise to try is the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique. Here's how it works:

  1. Identify 5 things you can see around you. These could be anything from the color of the walls to the pattern on a nearby tissue box.
  2. Next, identify 4 things you can touch. This could be the feel of the chair you're sitting in or the texture of your clothing.
  3. Now, name 3 things you can hear. Listen closely. This might be the humming of the air conditioner or the distant sound of traffic.
  4. Next, identify 2 things you can smell. If you can't immediately smell anything, you might lean over and sniff your skin or your clothing.
  5. Finally, identify 1 thing you can taste. Maybe it's the lingering toothpaste in your mouth or a sip from a drink.

Embrace this sensory exploration practice before your dental appointment as a powerful means of grounding yourself and diverting your attention away from anxiety.

FAQs: Addressing Common Concerns About Dental Anxiety

Q: What are natural remedies for dental anxiety?

A: There are various natural remedies that patients can utilize to cope with dental anxiety. These include establishing a calming pre-visit routine, open communication with your dentist, utilizing deep breathing and meditation techniques, music therapy, aromatherapy, and practicing mindfulness and visualization. 

Each of these remedies allows individuals to manage their dental fear without the use of medication, helping them experience less stressful and more comfortable dental visits.

Q: How can I prepare myself to reduce anxiety before a dental visit?

A: Preparing yourself mentally for a dental visit can significantly reduce anxiety levels. Here are a few recommended steps:

  1. Establish a pre-visit routine that includes calming activities such as reading a book, taking a short walk, or doing some gentle yoga.
  2. Communicate openly with your dentist about your fears. They will provide reassurances and may adapt their treatment approach to make the experience more comfortable for you.
  3. Practice deep breathing and meditation techniques. Remember, the aim is not to eliminate anxiety completely, but to manage it effectively.
  4. Try to visualize a successful visit, focusing on the positive outcome rather than possible discomfort.

Q: Can deep breathing really help with dental anxiety?

A: Absolutely, deep breathing can be a powerful tool for combating dental anxiety.

The process of inhaling deeply and exhaling slowly triggers the body's natural relaxation response, disrupting the anxiety cycle (2). It can also divert focus away from the dental activity, providing a mental escape. Regular practice of deep breathing before and during dental visits can significantly reduce anxiety levels.

Even better, this technique requires no special equipment or environment, making it an accessible and effective approach for anyone.

Q: What role does music play in easing dental fears?

A: Music has an incredible power to divert our attention, calm our minds, and relax our bodies (4). When it comes to dental anxiety, listening to your favorite soothing tracks can help distract from any fear or stress you may be experiencing.

As you focus on the rhythm and melody, your brain has less capacity to concentrate on the dental procedure, reducing any nervous feelings. Hence, music serves as a natural, non-pharmaceutical therapy for dental anxiety.

Conclusion: Embracing Natural Remedies for a Stress-Free Dental Experience

In conclusion, managing dental anxiety is crucial for maintaining good oral health and is incredibly feasible through the use of the natural remedies we discussed in this guide. 

Deep breaths and meditation offer a calming effect, ushering the mind and body into a state of relaxation. Open communication builds trust which in turn alleviates anxiety. Music and aromatherapy are both therapeutic aids that offer a soothing and distracting technique for an anxious mind. Lastly, mindfulness and visualization techniques can help in shifting focus away from fear and towards a more comforting mental picture.

Each one of the remedies we discussed can be used in combination or independently to facilitate a positive, stress-free dental experience. Remember, the key lies in finding what methods work best for you!

Take Your First Step Towards Anxiety-Free Dental Care with Greentree Dental Group in Columbus, Ohio

Start your journey to a relaxed and comfortable dental experience right now by scheduling your appointment with us at Greentree Dental Group!

Our dedicated team is ready to meet you, listen to your concerns, and tailor a unique approach to integrating these natural remedies into your dental care. Ease your dental anxiety with us and take the first step towards a healthier, happier smile. Call us today or visit our website to book your consultation.

You deserve dental care without fear. Let's combat dental anxiety together, one visit at a time.


  1. WBUR: Dental Anxiety, Phobia Often Starts At Childhood. Here's How To Manage A 'Deep Fear' Of The Dentist
  2. Harvard Health: Relaxation techniques: Breath control helps quell errant stress response
  3. University of Nevada, Reno: Releasing Stress Through the Power of Music
  4. Business Insider: 4 health benefits of drinking chamomile tea, including better sleep and anxiety relief
  5. Mayo Clinic: Exercise and Stress: Get Moving to Manage Stress
  6. Mindful: Getting Started with Mindfulness

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