Tips for Relieving Dental Anxiety

17 Feb

Apprehension and anxiety are common for many patients prior to visiting the dentist. Unfortunately, many people suffer from a more severe form of anxiety know as dental phobia. If this causes you to delay or avoid treatment it can have a negative impact on your overall health. Here are some strategies for relieving your dental anxiety:


Knowledge is the greatest defense against anxiety, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. Make sure that before any treatments your dentist has explained your treatment options, what will be performed, and what you should expect as the patient. Research any procedures you feel uncomfortable about. Talk to friends or family members who have received similar treatments about their experience. Become familiar with the dentist office where your treatment will take place. Dental offices have changed dramatically over the years, the environment is more soothing, the technology more advanced, and most procedures can be completed quickly and painlessly.


It’s very important to communicate your fears and concerns to your dentist. There may be specialized care or medications that your dentist can provide to help with your anxiety, but you won’t know unless you communicate your needs. Visit a dentist you trust, one who will take the time to talk to you and understand your fears. Make sure you have an open and honest relationship and that you are on the same page. Sometimes just knowing what to expect can eliminate your fears.


Anxiety commonly causes people to inadvertently hold their breath. This only increases the panic feeling. Focus on breathing regularly and slowly, take big breaths and pause between inhaling and exhaling.

Distraction Techniques:

You may find that focusing your attention away from your dental treatment may help to avoid anxiety. You may try:

  • listening to music, or watching a movie or TV
  • concentrating on relaxing your body and breathing
  • thinking about something that gives you pleasure (ie. playing baseball, relaxing on the beach).


    Making some minor changes to your diet before visiting the dentist can help with your anxiety. Try to avoid caffeine and stay away from sugary foods. Eat high-protein foods and drink plenty of water.


12 Jan

My four month old daughter is drooling a lot all of the sudden, which makes me suspect that she will be teething soon.  So I thought I would write a post about teething.

Teething may start as early as 3 months and as late as 12.  The first teeth typically appear between 6-9 months.  When your baby begins teething you may notice drooling, crying, and fussiness.  You may also notice a swelling of the gums.  It’s a misconception that teething causes fever (temperature above 100F), although it could possibly cause a slightly elevated temperature.  So if your baby is running a fever don’t disregard it as a symptom of teething.  It’s not.  These symptoms will appear 3-5 days before the tooth shows and will disappear after the tooth cuts through.

The infant teeth generally emerge in pairs and will start with the lower incisors.  You can check if your baby is teething by rubbing your finger along the gums, feeling for swollen ridges. 

Infants chew on objects to aid in the teething process, breaking down some of the gum tissue which promotes the growth of the teeth out of the gums.  A teething ring or a chilled pacifier can work well to relieve the discomfort.

Remember, you should begin brushing your baby’s teeth once they appear.  

Molly’s First Visit

3 Jan

MollyI was very nervous when my sister-in-law scheduled an appointment for my 3 year old niece to come see me for the first time.  I am very close to my niece, but to her I have always been Aunt Abby and not Dr. Mann.  I’m comfortable seeing children at this age, but I know that visiting the dentist can be a very scary thing for them, and I didn’t want her have a bad experience and associate it with me.  I could just imagine Molly crying inconsolably the next time I visit her at her house because she thinks Dr. Mann is there to stick something into her mouth again.

Fortunately, all of my fears were unfounded.  Molly was nervous at first, but her anxiety quickly subsided and she was a great patient.  She let me clean her teeth and give her an exam without any tears.  And she must have known that her mother and I were worried about the outcome of the visit because afterwards she told her mom, “Mom I did good, I did not even cry!”  She got to play with a new Christmas toy as a reward.

Search Engine Optimization

29 Dec

I’m doing some Search Engine Optimization.  I need more links going to my site so that I can get a higher rank in the search engines.  This feels slimy and creapy, but I’m told this is how the game is played.  Here are some of the SEO tools I’ve been using.

Academy of General Dentistry Fellowship (FAGD)

28 Dec

As a Dentist, it’s important to continually study the latest developments and current techniques in dentistry. In fact, to keep our state license we must meet the minimum requirements for Continuing Education courses (CE) each year.

But, after giving birth a few months ago to a beautiful baby girl named Audrey, I found it hard to motivate myself to spend time on my CE requirements. I want to spend all of my free time playing with and loving on Audrey.

So I decided I needed to set a goal for myself. I have some friends who are pursuing their FAGD, so I decided that would be my goal as well. The FAGD is a fellowship program sponsored by the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). It’s not easy. I listed the requirements below. Basically, I will have to take 500 hours of CE and then pass a rigorous exam. Only 7 percent of AGD dentists have achieved Fellowship. So it’s a distinctive honor to achieve Fellowship and a nice stretch goal for a new mother trying to motivate herself.


  • Current AGD membership for three continuous years by December 31 of the year of the convocation for which application is made, to begin no earlier than the month of dental school graduation.
  • A dental license has not been suspended or revoked within the last five years and is not currently under probation, suspension, or revocation.
  • Passing the Fellowship Exam.
  • 500 hours of approved CE.
  • Attendance at an AGD convocation ceremony, held during an AGD annual meeting, to receive the award (successful candidates are allowed three years following approval to complete this requirement).

Abby Mann is a general dentist practicing near Mesquite Texas.

Ordering Free Samples for Patients

12 Dec

I remember several times in my life when I went to the doctor and in addition to giving me a prescription, they were able to give me free samples of medicine.  That way I would have some relief right away, without having to go get the prescription fulfilled, and if I recovered quickly I might even be able to just use the samples and not fulfill it. 

I believe the drug companies give samples to the Doctor in hopes of increasing brand recognition and the Doctor would in turn, prescribe their drug more often.  For the Doctor, it’s a nice service to provide to your patients.  It seems like a win-win.

I figure there must be samples that out there for dentists to give to patients as well.  I did some google searches and stumbled on these two.

I  just requested the free samples, so we’ll see how it turns out.  My only concern is that they bother us with junk mail, or worse, sales calls.

Christmas Gift Exchange

12 Dec

This Christmas I was invited to participate in the office Christmas gift exchange.  That was very welcome news as I am the new dentist in the office and I really like the staff that I work with.  Christmas is my favorite time of the year and I love Christmas gift exchanges.  However, being the new dentist in the office, I had a few questions.  Most important being, what is the price limit for the gift?  There is always a price limit to these things, right?  That way you make sure everyone is buying a gift of equal value, and nobody feels like they spent too much or too little.  The answer suprised me.  There is no limit, just whatever you feel comfortable with.  Awkward silence…  “Oh Okay”. 

I don’t feel comfortable with anything.  If I spend $50 – $100 for a nice gift it may seem like I’m trying too hard, or like I’m showing off.  If they all give $25 gift cards and I spend $100 that would make me feel really uncomfortable.  But on the other hand, if they get really nice gifts and I spend the usual $25, then I would feel like a cheapskate. 

My plan is … somehow without drawing attention, ask someone what they got last year in the gift exchange.  That way I can gauge the value of the gift and buy something I feel is in the same price range.  Hope my plan works!