Dental Anxiety: Tips for Overcoming Fear of the Dentist

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For many people, a visit to the dentist can cause feelings of anxiety and fear. Dental anxiety is a common problem affecting people of all ages, leading to poor oral health if left untreated. However, there are many ways to manage dental anxiety and make visits to the dentist less stressful. 


Below, we will look at some of the most common reasons for fearing the dentist and tips for overcoming dental anxiety to improve your oral health.


Table of contents:

Understanding Dental Anxiety

Who can be affected by dental anxiety?

Causes of Dental Anxiety

Signs of Dental Anxiety

5 Tips for Overcoming Dental Anxiety



Understanding Dental Anxiety


Dental anxiety is a feeling of stress, fear, or anxiety that occurs before or during a visit to the dentist. It can range from mild discomfort to severe panic attacks. 


Things related to dentistry, such as needles, drills, or the dental setting, can trigger dental anxiety. For some people, the fear is so intense that they delay and avoid visiting the dentist altogether, which can lead to serious dental problems.


Who can be affected by dental anxiety?

Dental anxiety is a common problem and can affect people of any age. 

In most cases, children who have had bad dental experiences can overcome their fear if the situation is managed well and they are well cared for and supported during further dental visits. 


On the other hand, adults who are anxious about dental care tend to remain nervous throughout life. Many anxious dental patients can find a dentist who is sympathetic to their situation, so they can cope with going to the dentist.


Causes of Dental Anxiety


Dental anxiety or phobia can be caused by various triggers and result in reactions and symptoms that differ between each patient. It is crucial to manage dental anxiety, as avoiding your dental appointment can significantly affect your oral health and general well-being. 


There are several reasons why people may experience dental anxiety. Some of the most common causes include:


  • Previous negative experiences with dentists or other healthcare experience
  • Fear of pain or discomfort
  • The feeling of loss of control
  • Viewing that the mouth is a personal area and accessing the mouth is an invasion of personal space
  • Embarrassment or self-consciousness about dental health
  • General anxiety or phobias
  • Trust issues
  • Previous trauma to the head and neck


Signs of dental anxiety


Each person’s dental anxiety or phobia may manifest in different ways. Here are some of the most common reactions to fear of the dentist:

  • Sweating
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Fainting 
  • Distress, crying, or panic attacks
  • Withdrawal
  • Using humor or aggression to mask anxiety
  • Consistently missing dental appointments


5 Tips for Overcoming Dental Anxiety


There are many ways to help people manage dental anxiety or phobia. It is important to let the dentist know if you experience dental anxiety. Open discussion around the individual anxiety triggers can help the dentist work with you to tailor a management plan for you.


If you experience dental anxiety, there are several ways to manage your feelings and make visits to the dentist less stressful. Here are some tips for overcoming dental anxieties:


  • Communicate with Your Dentist

Communicating with your dentist is one of the most effective ways to manage dental anxiety. Tell them about your concern and any negative experiences you may have had. They may be able to offer solutions that can help make your visit more comfortable, such as taking breaks during the appointment or using a numbing agent to reduce pain.


  • Use Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques can help reduce anxiety and make visits to the dentist more comfortable. Deep breathing exercises, meditation, and visualization are all effective techniques that help you feel more relaxed during your appointment.


  • Distractions

Distractions can also help reduce anxiety. Consider bringing headphones and listening to calming music or a podcast during your appointment. Alternatively, you can focus on something else, like counting or visualizing a calming scene.


  • Conscious Sedation 

Sedation dentistry is a technique dentists use to help patients manage dental anxiety. It involves the use of medication to help you relax during your appointment. Sedation dentistry is safe and effective and can help make visits to the dentist less stressful.


  • Bring a Friend or Family Member

Having a friend or family member with you during your appointment can help reduce feelings of anxiety. They can provide support and distraction during the appointment, which can help make the experience more comfortable.




Dental anxiety is a common problem that affects many people, but it doesn’t have to prevent you from receiving proper dental care. We hope by using these tips for dental anxiety management, you can make your visits to the dentist more comfortable and improve your oral health. 


If you are still struggling with dental anxiety, consider consulting with Eastman Dental Group. Our experienced team can provide personalized solutions to help you manage your anxiety and receive the dental care you need. We are here to help you achieve optimal oral health in a comfortable and stress-free environment.