Dental Anxiety and how to deal with it


Posted on: 31 May 2019 by Emma Parsons

Being anxious about visiting the dentist is a common problem for a lot of people. Whether it’s due to past experiences, fear of the unknown or the potential of pain, dental anxiety impacts a lot of people’s dental health. Here’s how you can deal with dental anxiety to ensure you receive the dental care you need.

Choosing the right dentist

One of the biggest factors when dealing with dental anxiety is the dentist themselves. If your dentist is someone you’re comfortable talking too, and you can address your fears together, you’re much likely to become comfortable with visiting the dentist and undergoing treatment.

If you need to find a new dentist, start by asking friends and family about their dentists or doing research online and looking at reviews. Quality dentists like Putney Dental Care will begin the first consultation with a comprehensive dental examination. This is simply where the dentist will look over your mouth, teeth and gums. Use this time as a way to gauge if you’re comfortable with the dentist before undergoing any treatment or procedures.


What are the Common Dental Fears?

1.     Needles

Needles are feared not only by people visiting the dentist but also doctors and hospitals. Medical practitioners are aware of such fears and deal with them on a daily basis. Don’t hesitate to let your dentist know that needles make you feel uneasy as they may have ways to help.

Many dentists use numbing gel or even new anesthetic delivery technology to make the experience as painless as possible.

2.     The Drill

The dentist drill also seems to cause fear in a lot of people, even the sound is enough to make some feel nervous. This is often due to the fear of pain that they associate with the drill. However, patients very rarely feel any pain as dentists numb patients before using the drill.

3.     Pain

Dental pain can happen and when it does it can mean the person will be afraid to return to the dentist. Anesthetic can be used for most treatments, meaning patients will feel very little to no pain. Much of the fear comes from what we expect, rather than what actually occurs.

4.     Embarrassment

Many people are embarrassed about their teeth even when visiting the dentist. It’s important to remember that it’s the dentist’s job to look at teeth and treat dental issues so it’s likely they’ve seen it all. Your dentist will understand your teeth issues and won’t judge, but let them know that you’re embarrassed but would like their help to fix your issues. Simply letting your dentist know about your anxieties can help ease the tension, allows them to help you with your anxieties and can make the whole appointment easier.

5.     Sedation Fears

Sedation fears often come from “the unknown”. Patients sometimes feel they will be to aware of the pain and won’t be numb enough or they will have no control and suffocate or choke.

When it comes to dental anesthesia and numbing, for the top teeth only the individual tooth that needs to be worked on will be numb, whereas the bottom may feel like the cheek is swollen or numb, and while you may loose sensation you won’t loose any function.


Overcoming Dental Fears and Anxieties

Here’s some tips to consider for overcoming your dental fears and anxiety.

1.     Identify your fear.

Knowing what you fear and exactly where it comes from will help you to start to work towards a solution.

2.     Choose a dentist you are comfortable.

Someone who listens and cares about your concerns will make it a much more manageable experience. Consider specialist dentists depending on your situation, or a pediatric dentist for your children.

3.     Go with someone

Having a friend or family member come along can sometimes make people more comfortable with visiting the dentist.

4.     Ask about the procedure

Any good dentist will explain what they’re going to do and what you should expect to feel. Knowing what to expect can give you some relief.

5.     Learn about mindfulness or meditation

Knowing how to control your thoughts, be at ease with your mind and be in the present can help ease anxiety. There’s a lot of ways to practice mindfulness including breathing techniques.

6.     Sedation

If you think it might help, ask if it’s possible to be given some form of sedation.

7.     Professional help

Sometimes fears and anxiety stem from underlying problems that might not be obvious at first. Seeking professional help can make it easier to understand, address and eventually overcome your fears.


If left untreated, dental anxiety can negatively impact your quality of life. If you’re to nervous to visit the dentist, your oral health may suffer which can lead to serious consequences. While your fears may be warranted, the reality is there’s no danger in visiting professional dentists who will aim to treat and improve your dental needs. 

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