13, Jun, 2024
Overcoming Dental Anxiety: What Actions Can You Apply?

Overcoming Dental Anxiety: What Actions Can You Apply?

Overcoming dental anxiety should start at younger age.

Overcoming dental anxiety is a huge step an individual has to make to maintain excellent oral health. Dental fear can come along with discomfort, nervousness, and panic. In actuality, some tools might seem scary. However, if you keep thinking about it, the more it will scare you. We need to keep in mind the benefits we can get from regularly receiving our dental care. Besides, modern dentistry is now offering several techniques to make the patient comfortable. IDC’s clinic near Toongabbie can help with all your dental anxiety with their gentle dental care.


What is Dental Anxiety?

A little girl is clearly showing her fear to receive dental treatment.Dental anxiety is the term referring to the fear, anxiety, or stress towards a dental setting. In this condition, the patient will either delay or not go to receive their dental treatment. In effect, they are most likely to develop several oral issues.

Dental anxiety or dental phobia can push the patients away from receiving dental treatments. The more the patient allows the dental disease to worsen, the more extensive procedures. This situation refers to the vicious cycle of dental anxiety.

Usually, dental anxiety associates with triggers like needles, drills, or the whole dental setup. Dentists are familiar with several ways to help the patient cope up with this dental fear. The only way for them to determine the most appropriate option is to talk with them about it.


Symptoms of Dental Anxiety

A patient with anxiety typically shows the following symptoms.

  • Difficulty sleeping before the appointment
  • Intense discomfort at the thought of a dental appointment
  • Upset stomach
  • Sweating
  • Palpitations
  • Withdrawal
  • Fainting
  • Shaking
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Low blood pressure
  • Hyperventilating
  • The urge of crying or crying already in front of the dentist
  • Agitation
  • Panic attacks

We may not have mentioned everything that a patient with anxiety can encounter. However, it is something serious that no one should take lightly. An immediate solution to this condition will help the patient change outlook toward going to the dentist.


Causes of Dental Anxiousness

Several factors can cause the patients to feel dental anxiety, and each of them might show a unique situation.

  • Previous negative dental experiences
  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of anesthetics and its side effects
  • Trust issues
  • Other phobias
  • Fear of injections
  • Fear of dental sounds
  • The feeling of personal space invasion

As mentioned, each patient might show their dental anxiety differently. For this reason, the dentist has to evaluate the probable causes and help the patient deal with them slowly. Overcoming dental fear takes time. It also depends on the patient’s willingness to win over it.


Overcoming Dental Anxiety

Generally speaking, everyone has their own set of fear and triggers of anxiety. Relatively, there are ways to cope up with them once you open up about it to your dentist.

  • First and foremost, you have to speak up about your feelings. It is essential to discuss this with your dentist to prepare the proper treatment plan. Additionally, you don’t have to be afraid to tell about your anxiety to your dentist.
  • Another thing is you can use distractions while the procedure is ongoing. You may try wearing headphones and listen to your favorite music. Besides that, you can also squeeze a stress ball or imagine happy thoughts if possible.
  • Additionally, observe mindfulness techniques, such as meditation. You can also do deep breathing exercises to calm your nerves.
  • Furthermore, you don’t have to feel embarrassed regarding your oral health. You may not be the only patient who has the same case with no dental cleaning for years. Generally speaking, your dentist might have seen it all already.
  • In general, everyone can get anxious when it comes to dental costs. However, the more you neglect or avoid dental treatment, the more costly the treatments can become in the long run.

Overall, your dentist can help you manage your dental fears only if you’d be honest about them. You have to muster some courage to succeed in overcoming dental anxiety. Do not let it hinder your opportunity to keep an excellent oral health condition.


Managing dental anxiety

Aside from the ways we mentioned above, the dentists can also apply the following dental sedation techniques to relax you while the dental procedures are ongoing.

  1. The little girl receives sedation while the dental procedure is ongoing.Nitrous Oxide: Some medical professionals also refer to it as the happy gas or laughing gas. It can help the patient relax using a mask to breathe a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide. With laughing gas, the patient will feel relaxed but remains awake. Besides that, you might not be able to remember everything about the procedure as one of the side effects of the laughing gas.
  2. Oral Sedatives: The dentist would give this oral medication before the appointment. Meanwhile, the patient has to take it hours ahead. This way, the oral medication has already taken effect before the procedure.
  3. IV (Intravenous) Sedation: This kind of sedation takes place using an intravenous port. The dentist will insert the IV port into the patient’s veins. In effect, they will become relaxed but still responsive.
  4. General anesthesia: This sedation type will make the patient entirely unconscious. It requires safe monitoring from the dentist with specific post-graduate training or certification in anesthesiology.

Your dentist will select the dental sedation type according to the patient’s level of anxiety. The patient’s health history is also one of the considerations for the selection. The dentist should ensure that the patient is an excellent candidate to receive any of this dental sedation.


Food for thoughts

Overcoming dental anxiety is a concern that the patient and dentist should work out together. If the patient does not do anything about it, it will develop into severe oral health disorders. Moreover, it can also affect their overall health condition.

First and foremost, family members should be the first to initiate encouraging the patient to work out their anxiety. With modern dentistry, dental professionals have already determined ways to keep their patients with utmost comfort.

Additionally, receiving dental treatments will no longer be that stressful for them subsequently. As a result, everyone can regularly undergo dental care. Patients will no longer avoid their dental appointments. Healthy teeth and smiles await in the end.



How to Overcome Dental Anxiety, Kristen Bottger with Leon F Seltzer Ph.D., February 28, 2018, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evolution-the-self/201802/how-overcome-dental-anxiety

Sit back and relax: Tips for coping with dental anxiety, CareCredit.com, accessed June 2, 2021, https://www.carecredit.com/newsletter/2019/october/tips-for-coping-with-dental-anxiety/

Dental Anxiety: 3 Ways to Stop Fearing the Dentist, Mouthhealthy.org, accessed June 2, 2021, https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/a/anxiety