Acupuncture for Dental Anxiety

Feeling slightly anxious about visiting the dentist is completely normal, but for some, that anxiety is so overwhelming that it prevents people from getting the dental care they desperately need. Luckily for these people, there may be a solution for severe dental anxiety – acupuncture.

New Studies Show Acupuncture can Help Patients with Dental Anxiety

Researchers have just begun to study how acupuncture can be used to help relieve dental anxiety. Even though research has just begun, the results from some of the smaller studies that have been conducted have been promising.

The most promising research study was conducted by Austrian researcher. It took 182 individuals over the age of 18 and separated them into three groups. Right before their scheduled dental appointments, one group received acupuncture therapy in areas known to treat anxiety, one group received acupuncture in areas not known to relieve anxiety, and another group didn’t receive acupuncture at all but were told they did. The results were impressive.

The way the study was set up was individual received acupuncture therapy 20 minutes before their dental appointment. The acupuncture session was administered right in the dental chair.

The individuals who received acupuncture therapy – both in points known to treat anxiety and points not known to treat anxiety – reported feeling less anxious than those who received the “fake” acupuncture.

While this is still a small study, it shows that acupuncture may be able to provide relief for anyone who suffers from dental anxiety. Further studies are needed, but it looks promising.

Why it is Important for Patients to Find Quality Relief from Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety may affect you emotionally and psychologically, but it can also cause you physical problems. People with dental anxiety report a number of symptoms ranging from racing heart and extreme nausea to dizziness and upset stomach.

In addition to the physical side effects of dental anxiety, it can cause a number of dental problems. Dental anxiety doesn’t actually cause the problems, but it does prevent people from getting preventative dental care that is needed to keep your mouth healthy and to prevent severe dental problems from occurring.

Given that there are numerous problems associated with dental anxiety, it is important that people find an effective way to relieve it. That way people can the dental care they need to stay healthy.

Ways to Relieve Dental Anxiety During Treatment

Since acupuncture is currently not being offered as a way to help those with dental anxiety, you will have to try other methods to relieve your anxiety. Some suggestions for relieving dental anxiety include:

  • Watch what you consume before your dental appointment. Consuming drinks high in caffeine or sugars can make you feel jittery and more anxious.
  • Consider listening to music during your dental appointment. This can help you relax and take your focus away from the appointment.
  • Schedule your appointments when you aren’t under pressure. If you are trying to get an appointment in during a short lunch break and it runs late, you will feel anxious which will trigger your dental anxiety.
  • Talk to your dentist. Let your dentist know that you suffer from dental anxiety. There are things that can be done, such as establishing hand signals and explaining everything that will be done during the appointment, which can help make your appointment go smoother.
  • Make sure a note is placed in your chart about dental anxiety. A small note in your dental chart will alert anyone who you encounter during your appointment, from the receptionist to the hygienists, that you may feel stressed and anxious. Seeing this note will help them know how to act during your appointment.   
  • Find a dental office that is designed to be calming. Many dental offices are designed specifically to create a calming and soothing setting.

If you suffer from dental anxiety and are looking for a dentist, call Smiles by Shields in Jacksonville, Florida. Smiles by Shields has experience treating patients who suffer from dental anxiety.Our staff and friendly dentist will do everything possible to make you feel comfortable before, during, and after your dental appointment. Call our office today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to helping you!


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Smiles by Shields
3940 San Jose Park Dr.
Jacksonville, FL 32217