How To Reduce Pain And Anxiety During A Dental Visit Without Relying On Laughing Gas

Dentists often rely on laughing gas to prevent their patients from experiencing pain and anxiety during visits. But what if you are one of the few people who do not tolerate laughing gas well? There's no need to trade pain for the nauseous feeling laughing gas gives you. Instead, you can turn to these alternative tips for managing pain and anxiety during a dental visit.

1. Take pain relievers before your appointment.

If you are just having a minor procedure like a cleaning, ask your dentist if it is safe for you to take an OTC pain reliever, like ibuprofen or naproxen, before your appointment. Taking the dose recommended on the bottle about 30 minutes prior to your appointment will help minimize the pain you experience. These medications also work to reduce inflammation. Since much of the pain you experience during cleaning and other minor procedures may be due to gum inflammation, relieving this inflammation also relieves pain.

2. Practice your deep breathing techniques.

There are many different deep breathing exercises you can try to ease your anxiety. Easing your anxiety, in turn, tends to bring down your pain levels. An easy breathing exercise is to inhale to the count of three, hold your breath for three seconds while thinking calming thoughts, and then exhale for three seconds. Keep doing this as your dentist works.

3. Apply calming oils.

Certain essential oils are known for their calming and pain relieving effects. Lavender, vanilla, and chamomile are top options. Dab a little of these oils on your wrists or neck so the soft scent can keep you relaxed during your dental appointment. You may want to mix the oils with a little coconut or canola oil first so that they are not too potent. 

4. Listen to music.

Have you ever noticed that when you listen to certain music, you feel a lot more relaxed? And when you feel more relaxed, you feel less pain. A lot of people notice this effect mostly with jazz, easy listening, and classical music. See if your dentist will allow you to listen to relaxing music through headphones while he or she works. Most will, although some may request you use Bluetooth headphones so the cords do not get in the way of their work.

To learn more about easing pain and anxiety, talk to a pain free general dentist. They can tell you what has worked for their other patients who can't have laughing gas.