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Dental Anxiety: 4 Ways to Stop Fearing the Dentist

patient sitting on dental chair waiting anxiously for her dentist

What is Dental Anxiety?

Dental anxiety is the stress, anxiety, and fear of seeing a dentist. If you are scared of seeing a dentist, you may delay or avoid dental treatment.

What are the Root Causes of Dental Anxiety?

  • Previous negative or traumatic dental experience
  • History of trauma
  • Absorbing the fears of other people, such as parents
  • Trust issues
  • Fear of loss of control

Do not let your fears get the better of you. Here are 4 ways to stop fearing the dentist:

1. Talk to Your Dentist

Dentists know some people have dental anxiety, so they know how to talk to these patients. It is also easy for a dentist to identify patients with signs of dental anxiety. Therefore, talking to your dentist can help you overcome your dental anxiety. Once you are comfortable with your dentist, you will stop fearing them.

2. Use Distractions

It can take time to stop fearing the dentist. You can use distractions instead. The best distractions are music, movies, TV shows and even video games. You can focus on audio and visual stimuli to help you feel more relaxed. If you are afraid of the sound of drills, you can use your headphones to listen to music to block out the sound.

3. Use Mindfulness/Relaxation Techniques

If you have dental anxiety, you can use relaxation exercises to reduce your muscle tension and heart rate. In fact, some dental clinics teach paced breathing exercises. You can practise these exercises before you visit your dentist. It can take time for some exercises to become effective, so you need to start practising them a few weeks before visiting the dentist.

4. Consider sedation options

There are a number of sedation dentistry options available at the dentist that range from mild forms of medication ie. Nitrous gas and anti-anxiety medication, to deeper sedation options that include IV sedation and/or General Anaesthetic (in hospital).  These should be communicated to your dentist if you are considering these types of options.

It can take time and lots of effort to overcome dental anxieties on your own. It is better to talk to experts to help you overcome your fears as fast as possible. If you have dental issues and if your dental anxiety is stopping you from getting treated, chat with our friendly team of experts at Rockingham Dental Centre.


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