Dental Anxiety

What is Dental Anxiety?


Dental anxiety (or dental fear) is the fear of dentistry, or visiting the dentist. Most dental anxiety stems from a bad previous experience while having a dental procedure, whether it was routine or not. If at any point someone has felt pain or major discomfort while visiting their dentist, then you can expect that dental anxiety will set in and stay with you until you have a great dental experience. Studies have shown that dental anxiety may set in because of fear of losing control, embarrassment (personal space issues or neglectful oral maintenance), or fear of pain.

What are the causes of Dental Anxiety?

The causes of dental anxiety can be anything from a traumatic childhood experience with a dentist, to an overall fear of needles. Some other causes of dental anxiety may be:

  • Prior experience with pain at the dentist as an adult or child

  • Feeling of helplessness

  • Fear of losing financial control

  • Past history of abuse

  • Fear of the dentist by observational learning from parents or siblings

  • Ineffective anxiety relief from anxiety medication


How can I overcome Dental Anxiety?

There are many ways you can overcome dental anxiety and fear. Some effective ways to do this are as follows:

  • Make sure you choose the right dental team. Do your research to make sure they have the proper state-of-the-art equipment that is designed to make you feel comfortable, as well as a team of doctors, hygienists and assistants that know how to educate you and make you feel relaxed and comfortable during your visit.

  • Join a peer group to share your thoughts with those who have dental anxiety and fear like you do. It’s always good to be among others who share your same fears.

  • Your dentist should educate you thoroughly and give you realistic expectations. That doesn’t mean that you can’t educate yourself, too. Do your research and learn exactly what to expect at your next visit.

  • Find a dentist who specializes in treating those with dental anxiety. Our d​entist​s and ​team​ are well equipped to help you through your anxiety.

  • Avoid sugar and/or caffeine before your dental visit. These may be factors that will contribute to your anxiety and sense of nervousness.

  • Take advantage of our comfort menu. We have many items that will distract you from concentrating on your anxiety.

  • Ask our dentist about sedation and if it is the right choice for you.

There are many Americans (close to 20%) that have some form of dental anxiety. For these people, the fear of going to the dentist far outweighs the importance of maintaining good oral health. No matter what you do or say, dental anxiety and fear (Dentophobia) rears its ugly head and keeps certain people from getting the proper dental care they deserve.