• Alicia Paz

DBT Skills at the Dentist



CW: Dental Phobia

I have relatively severe dental phobia. I won't get into the why, but the whole experience is a bit terrifying. Making the appointment has been challenging, sitting in the chair for the cleaning is terrifying, and I have historically, as an adult, avoided my expected annual cleaning.

My kids go twice a year, yet the last time I went was nearly six years ago. I started to have some tooth sensitivity and cracked two older fillings and thought if I don't take care of things now, I will eventually be without teeth.


Here's how I used Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills during this stressful time and made it through.

Before the appointment


Cope Ahead

I booked the appointment weeks ago. I took the day off of work to focus on self-care. I wrote a list of things to do later so I wouldn't forget to do it.


I went to a place recommended by a close friend, so I felt more comfortable.


I debated an anti-anxiety medication but didn't feel comfortable traveling to the dentist on it, so I skipped it.