Does your stomach tense when you think about visiting the dentist? Do you get lightheaded thinking about your dentist’s tools? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, 17 percent of American adults with private dental insurance avoid using their coverage because of dental anxiety.1
Dental anxiety refers to the feeling of fear, dread, or uneasiness you experience when you think about going to the dentist.There are many reasons people experience dental anxiety. They may include:
- Painful or traumatic experiences visiting the dentist as a child
- Not liking the “invasion” of your personal space
- Dislike of needles
- General uncertainty of what your dentist is doing
The reasons for anyone’s dental anxiety are unique to them.
Dental anxiety becomes a problem when it keeps you from staying on top of your regular dental check-ups. Good daily oral hygiene is only part of what it takes to keep your smile healthy.
Our smiles are part of an interconnected system—our bodies.
The health of your mouth influences your body just like the way an engine’s health affects how a car performs. Taking care of your smile helps prevent painful, expensive problems down the road.
Visiting the dentist for preventive dental care is essential to creating and maintaining good health—it’s like getting a tune-up for your mouth. Routine preventive care includes a thorough oral exam by a dentist, cleaning, x-rays, and fluoride treatment.
If thinking about the above makes you uncomfortable, try coloring!
How Coloring Can Help Ease Dental Anxiety
Coloring Soothes Stress
Adult coloring removes focus from stressful feelings and re-centers them in a productive and positive way.
Coloring Alleviates Anxiety
Anxiety levels drop when adults begin coloring, according to a 2005 study.
Coloring Spreads Smiles
Though no formal studies have been conducted, coloring enthusiasts claim that coloring makes them feel happier and mentally clearer.
Print our free dental coloring pages (below)! Bring them with you to your next dentist appointment and color while you wait.
If you’re a dentist, print a few and stock in your waiting room with some coloring pencils.
Looking for more ways to ease your dental anxiety?
Try some essential oils or talk to your dentist. They understand and will work with you to make trips to their office more comfortable.
Don't have a dentist? Create or sign in to your MySmile® account to search for one near you. You can even filter your results by patient endorsements!
Shopping for dental coverage? We offer 5 individual plans designed to meet any smile's needs or budget.
1 ADA Health Policy Institute. "Why Adults Forgo Dental Care: Evidence from a New National Survey." 2014.
*This blog post originally published in August 2016 and update May 2018.