dental anxiety

How To Overcome Dental Anxiety And Fear

Dental anxiety and fear is a common phenomenon experienced by an estimated 9-15% of the population. It can interfere with one’s ability to seek necessary dental care, leading to detrimental effects on oral health. This article provides insight into how individuals who suffer from dental anxiety and fear can develop strategies for overcoming it in order to maintain their oral hygiene.

Talk To Your Dentist

Dental anxiety and fear can be a major impediment for individuals seeking to improve their oral health. Many people experience this fear due to various factors, including painful past experiences or lack of knowledge about dental treatments. Despite the apprehension that these feelings bring, it is important to seek professional advice from your dentist in order to overcome them.

Engaging with a dentist before any procedure starts is essential as they will provide information on the treatment plan and explain what each step involves. Discussing concerns openly also allows dentists to create an individualized approach tailored specifically to reduce stress levels during visits. This openness creates a sense of trust between both parties and ensures that only necessary procedures are taken place. Furthermore, informing the dentist about previous bad experiences may help them gain insight into why some patients feel anxious when visiting the clinic; thus providing more effective solutions for managing fears.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

It is crucial to practice relaxation techniques before, during, and after receiving any dental treatment. This can help reduce fear and anxiety while in the dentist’s chair. Deep breathing exercises are an effective way to relax the body and mind. Taking slow deep breaths helps you feel more relaxed by providing oxygen flow throughout your body. Visualization techniques also work well for calming nerves; this involves picturing a serene setting in detail or imagining a relaxing activity such as taking a walk on the beach. Additionally, using distraction methods like listening to music can be beneficial when anxious about dental visits. Music has been known to naturally relieve stress and act as a distraction from the sounds of dentistry instruments during treatment procedures. Other approaches include progressive muscle relaxation which consists of tensing specific parts of your body consecutively then releasing each area with conscious effort until all muscles are relaxed. Practicing these methods prior to appointments will not only make them easier but also provide long-term benefits that improve overall oral health care routine experience.

Listen To Music

Listening to music can be an effective way to reduce dental anxiety and fear. Music has been shown to alter emotional states, including reducing levels of stress, depression, and anxiety (Huber & Moser-Domènech, 2017). Listening to calming music during a dental appointment has been found to have positive effects on a patient’s feelings before and after the procedure. Additionally, it is recommended that patients choose songs they enjoy listening to as this will enhance its antidepressant effect. Furthermore, playing music in the background of a dental office may help create a more relaxed atmosphere for both clinicians and patients alike. Thus, incorporating music into one’s dental care routine can potentially provide numerous benefits due to its potential anxiolytic properties.

Bring A Support Person

In addition to listening to music, another strategy for overcoming dental anxiety and fear is bringing a support person. This can be anybody from a family member or close friend to an emotional support animal if one is available. Having someone there with you during the appointment may reduce stress levels as well as provide comfort and reassurance. A study examined the effect of having a companion at the dentist on adults’ psychological responses when undergoing routine restorative dentistry procedures. The findings revealed that participants who had companions present at their appointments experienced less pain, anxiety, and fear than those without companions present. Furthermore, they were more likely to report feeling comfortable and relaxed in the presence of their companions compared to individuals who did not have anyone accompany them to the dentist’s office. Thus, this evidence indicates that having a support person with you while visiting your dentist could potentially help alleviate feelings of dread and worry associated with going to the dentist.

Consider Therapy

Therapy can be an effective treatment for dental anxiety and fear. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most commonly used method of psychotherapy for this issue and involves examining thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to visiting the dentist. CBT enables individuals to identify maladaptive thought patterns that contribute to their fear and provides strategies to modify these beliefs in order to reduce distress and increase coping skills. Additionally, relaxation techniques such as mindfulness, deep breathing exercises, or progressive muscle relaxation may help mitigate symptoms of anxiety during dental appointments. Research has found that a combination of CBT with pharmacological interventions, including anxiolytics before a dental visit, yields even better results than either intervention alone. It is important for people experiencing dental anxiety or fear to find a mental health provider who specializes in treating this condition so they can receive individualized care designed specifically for them.

Educate Yourself

Therapy works for some people to help them cope with dental anxiety and fear, but others may find that educating themselves is just as effective. Learning about the tools and techniques used by dentists can reduce much of the fear caused by not knowing what will happen during a procedure. Understanding why certain steps are taken can also be reassuring. Researching potential treatments, including non-invasive ones, can provide patients with more options and allow them to make an informed decision rather than feeling helpless in their situation.

In addition to researching treatment options, it is important to compare dentists or practice itself before making an appointment. Reading patient reviews online or talking to friends and family who have had positive experiences at a specific office can create a sense of comfort when going into the unknown. Taking time out of one’s day to visit the office ahead of time so they can see where they will be treated and become familiarized with the surroundings is another way individuals can reduce their anxiety levels surrounding dental visits.

Use Positive Self-Talk

Positive self-talk can be a powerful tool for overcoming dental anxiety and fear. It is important to recognize that negative thoughts may arise when anticipating visiting the dentist, such as feeling overwhelmed by the procedure or ashamed of one’s oral health. However, focusing on positive mantras during this time can help reduce these feelings while reinforcing confidence in oneself. Studies have shown that encouraging words, phrases, and affirmations can increase resilience even in the most difficult situations. Examples include “I am strong enough to handle this” or “I will get through this appointment with ease”. Additionally, it is beneficial to practice visualization techniques to imagine being calm before going into the dental office. This can take shape in many forms such as deep breathing exercises or picturing oneself succeeding at an upcoming task. While confronting fears related to dentistry may never become easy, embracing and utilizing positive self-talk strategies are effective tools for decreasing any anxiousness associated with visiting the dentist.


Overcoming dental anxiety and fear can be a difficult process, but it is possible. The first step in this journey is to talk to your dentist about any concerns you may have. From there, relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or listening to music can help reduce stress levels while undergoing treatment. Bringing along a support person or considering therapy may also be beneficial for some individuals. Educating yourself on the topic of dentistry can provide reassurance that the procedures are safe and necessary. Finally, using positive self-talk can help shift negative thoughts into more empowering ones.

With mindful effort and dedication, individuals who suffer from dental anxiety and fear will likely find success when striving to overcome these issues. With patience and guidance from both medical professionals and supportive friends or family members, those struggling with their oral health can work towards achieving a better peace of mind during future appointments. As long as proper steps are taken, dental visits do not need to feel overwhelming anymore.