6 Tips for Overcoming Orthodontic Anxiety

woman with blonde hair holding her hands over her mouth while hands points dental tools at her

Do You Experience Orthodontic Anxiety?

The loud noises. A previous, traumatic experience. Fear of needles. These are just some reasons why patients get anxious when going to the dentist or orthodontist.

If you experience this fear or anxiety, you are not alone. An estimated 36% of the population suffers from dental or orthodontic anxiety – with 12% suffering from extreme dental anxiety. Even more astonishing research shows that 16% of school-aged children fear dentists or orthodontists.

If you are fearful of dental appointments, you are most likely putting off routine dental work, oral hygiene checks, or needed orthodontic care. As oral health directly correlates with your overall health, partaking in orthodontic and dental prevention and treatment is vital.

Below are tips and tricks to help overcome your anxiety and rock your next orthodontic trip.

Tip #1 – Do Your Research

The first step to overcoming your orthodontic anxiety is performing some legwork and finding the right orthodontist for you. Create a list of requirements and things that will ensure your comfort. These can include:

  • An entire team to support you
  • One-on-ones with the orthodontist
  • A relaxing atmosphere
  • Positive reviews from current patients
  • Payment plans to ease any financial burdens

Additionally, you can research if there is any existing paperwork to complete before your appointment, so that is one less thing you have to worry about when you arrive. Most orthodontists have a "contact us" section on their website, where you can find out how to best prepare for your appointment.

Tip #2 – Arrive Early To Your Appointment, But Not Too Early

Arriving at your appointments at the perfect time can help ease your anxiety. Coming late creates a sense of urgency and most likely enhances your existing stress; however, arriving too early may lead to unwanted jitters from sitting and waiting.

Plan to arrive with enough time to talk to the front office staff, fill out the necessary paperwork, and relax before you go back for your appointment. We recommend arriving at an appointment approximately ten to fifteen minutes before the start time.

Tip #3 – Understand What An Orthodontist Does and Their Benefits

Everything the orthodontist does for you is to help you positively! If you can get yourself to understand this, you may be able to turn your thinking around. Dr. Berrios will work with you to improve your confidence and dental health. What exactly can an orthodontist do for you?

Tip #4 – Take a Buddy

You know the saying, "Two is better than one?" It's true! Research shows that positive relationships can boost self-esteem and confidence. Find a friend, relative, or partner who does not share the everyday anxieties of going to the orthodontist, and bring them both as a distraction and confidence booster.

Tip #5 – Talk to Your Orthodontist About Your Feelings

Most orthodontists will understand your feelings and will be there to talk to you through your treatment and exam. If you feel that it is getting too much, ask to take a break. Orthodontists and dental assistants are human, just like you!

Tip #6 – Calm Your Nerves Before and During Your Appointment

You can do several things before and during your appointment to help calm your nerves. Consider some of the following:

  • Stretch your muscles for fifteen minutes before your appointment
  • Practice deep breathing exercises in the waiting room and during your appointment. Close your eyes and deeply inhale through your nose and out your mouth.
  • Seek distraction during the appointment. If you do not want to talk with your orthodontist during treatment or exams, bring earbuds and listen to music or podcasts.

Ensuring Your Comfort at Holistic Orthodontics

Holistic Orthodontics understands that you may experience anxiety or stress when you visit us the first time. Our goal is to ensure a customized and comfortable experience based on individual needs.

To learn more about our team of warm and friendly staff and orthodontic services, contact us online or call us at (818) 626-3632 today.