How to solve isues with dental anxiety

How to solve issues with dental anxiety


Anxiety and fear associated with going to the dentist is so common that WebMD has an entire online segment addressing the topic. There are many reasons why a fear or phobia of visiting the dentist can develop. The important thing is to focus on finding a practical solution to get back on track with your dental health.

Whats the reason for your fear?

If you are among the 8 percent of people who actively avoid dentists, or even the 20 percent who will but under duress, finding the reason for your fear is critical to overcoming it. Here are some of the most common reasons for anxiety about visiting the dentist.

  • A loved one has a dental anxiety that has also become your fear.
  • You have had a past “bad experience” at the dentist.
  • You believe that visiting the dentist will just make the pain worse.
  • You feel out of control while having dental exams or treatments. 

5 simple steps to overcome anxiety

The most important step you can take when confronting anxiety about visiting the dentist is to talk about it. Here are some helpful steps you can take to begin to work through your fear of the dentist.

  1. Be assertive from the start. If you are fearful, tell your dentist and hygienist. They won’t know if you don’t tell them.
  2. Outline what you need to be comfortable. Perhaps you need visual aids to understand what to expect. Maybe you need better pain control measures (if you have a low pain tolerance as many patients do).
  3. Take someone with you to your appointment. You can benefit from the reassurance of a partner or friend if you are very anxious.
  4. Remind yourself you always retain control. Work out a system with your dentist – hand signals if need be – to alert them if your anxiety begins to kick in.
  5. Finally, if you find you are still experiencing a high degree of anxiety after trying all of these suggestions, ask your dentist about anxiety relief options – these can include meditation, hynosis, medication, deep breathing exercises, and other options as well. In this way you won’t sacrifice your dental health in service to your fears.

Learn more about sedation dentistry

For many people, overcoming deep-rooted fears is very difficult. But, if you avoid the dentist, you’ll end up putting your health at risk. Without regular dental check-ups and cleaning, you’ll miss out on the proactive treatments that will keep your gums as healthy as they can be. If you think you’re one of those people who needs a bit of extra help, download my free e-book about sedation dentistry. 

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About the author

A practicing dentist since 1982, Dr. Gary Imm, provides advanced cosmetic dentistry, including smile makeovers, sedation, implant and TMJ services. He is committed to progressive, extraordinary care for his guests. All Smiles Dental Care trains at least 300 hours each year at such prestigious centers as the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dentistry. (LVI)