Dogs and dental distress: Conquering dental anxiety with man’s best friend

Dr. Gary Vance

| 2 min read

dogs and dental distress
They have been known to bring happiness to adults and children alike, ease veterans’ post-traumatic stress and provide support to those following a tragedy. And now, therapy dogs are moving to a new practice – easing a dental patient’s fears and anxiety.
Using therapy dogs to help dental patients was initially used in Minnesota with a loveable cocker spaniel named Molly. After completing multiple training classes, Molly sits with patients to distract and soothe them during an exam.
The idea of allowing a therapy dog in the patient room is a new approach to easing dental apprehension. With more than 20 million Americans avoiding the dentist out of fear each year, you might just find a furry friend at your visit.
If a lovable pooch isn’t available, try one of these techniques to make the dentist visit a little less scary:
  • Be a chatterbox: Before the dentist begins the exam, have a conversation to feel more comfortable. You may also be able to schedule a quick visit with the dentist before your appointment if you think it will help ease your fear. Plus, cracking jokes with your dentist has been found to be a great way to ease anxiety.
  • Turn the noise down: The drills and scrapping patients hear during their visit can cause panic, so many dentists suggest using ear plugs to block out the sound.
  • Turn the music up: Bring your iPod or personal music player to listen to some of your favorite tunes.
Photo credit: Heartlover1717

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