The dentist's chair is a source of anxiety for many patients, and can be a major reason why individuals do not get the dental care that they desperately need. Thankfully, if you find yourself experiencing anxiety every time you have to go to the dentist, there are a couple of things that you can do to try and reduce the amount of stress that you feel.
The first thing that you should do is talk with your dentist beforehand. The only way to combat stress and anxiety is to be clear with your dentist that you are not completely comfortable with the process. Your dentist will be understanding: they most likely have dozens of other anxious patients, and depending on the process that you are in for, they may be able to pursue alternate treatment options or procedures that are less stressful for you. In addition, talking to your dentist beforehand can let you set out some ground rules that may help you during the process, such as letting them know that you don't want to talk while they're working.
Beyond talking to your dentist about your feelings of anxiety and exploring any alternative options you may have, the next best thing that you can do is distract yourself while you are in the chair. This can take a whole bunch of different forms, from listening to the radio or watching TV to simply daydreaming as your dentist works. Find the method that works best for you, and stick with it.
One of the best things that you can do to reduce your stress levels when going to the dentist is to bring a friend or family member with you for support. They can help keep your mind off of your anxiety, and sometimes can even come into the room with you to offer moral support while the dentist works.
Lastly, you can talk to your dentist about being medicated while they work on you. Though it may depend on your dentist and the procedure that you are getting done, your dentist may use anesthetic to put you under, since their job will be easier if you are relaxed and not shifting due to nerves and angst. This should be a last resort, however, since medication can be expensive and leave you groggy for the rest of the day, and it is definitely healthier to try alternative methods of stress reduction before turning to anesthetic.