How to Overcome Dental Anxiety

How to Overcome Dental Anxiety

Anxiety is a natural feeling everyone experiences when they’re forced to deal with an issue they’re not comfortable with. People are anxious about dental visits for different reasons. Some anticipate pain. Others worry that the dentist might be rushed or neglect their concerns. Additional stress issues include negative memories of past experiences and even the smell of the dentist office can trigger patients to go into full panic mode. Sometimes, simply interrupting the normal day’s routine for a dentist visit creates anxiety. One of the most important factors in order to overcome dental anxiety is good communication between you and your dentist. When you feel informed and in control throughout a visit, you’re typically less anxious. Every dental professional wants their patients to feel calm and relaxed. The simple reason for their concern is that your comfort makes their job a whole lot easier. Whether it’s fear of going to the doctors or dentists, these tips can help make sure that your anxiety is not affecting your health.

Here are some common fears of seeing the dentist, and how to subdue them:


The most common reason that creates anxiety in patients, is the fear that the procedure is going to be painful and not tolerable. If you’re nervous about pain, let your dentist know; they can administer anesthesia comfortably so you don’t have to suffer. If you’re afraid of needles, laughing gas (nitrous oxide) works is a good alternative that helps you to relax first. If nitrous oxide isn’t enough to dull your senses, sedation dentistry is common, and all you need is a designated driver to shuttle you to and from your appointment. For patients who can’t get past the fear of the dentist, this is usually the best option. Anyone with anxiety knows sharing your feelings makes a world of difference. If you’re tense or anxious, do yourself a favor and get your concerns off your chest. Your dentist and dental team are better able to treat you if they know your needs.

Past Experiences

If you didn’t have the best first experience during a dentist visit, chances are that going to future visits can be traumatizing for you. Past unpleasant experiences seem to be the second most common complaint of patients. Sometimes the overall experience of the appointment leaves you feeling unsettled, anxious or worse, repulsed. Perhaps the service was a lot more than you could handle financially, the hygienist wasn’t thorough, the assistant was unpleasant, or the dentist was insensitive. All these examples are very unfortunate, but does happen. But it shouldn’t hold you back from scheduling future visits (whether with the same dentist or a new one). If past experiences are restricting you from seeing your dental professional, it’s important to make sure that the dental staff is aware of your past experiences, so they can understand exactly what happened and try to make your office visit go a lot smoother. It may require some patience, but you should be able to find a team that will be a good fit for you, which in the long run will  make all the difference.

Anxiety About Cost

When it comes to maintaining a healthy mouth, it can be nerve racking thinking about the financial aspect of the treatment. Dental work can be expensive, especially if your insurance doesn’t cover it. It is important that you maintain regular appointments with your hygienist, since it can help reduce the need for more costly treatments later on. When a filling or crown is necessary, however, talk to the office manager about payment options. Most offices will work with you to create a comfortable financial arrangement. Plus, check your area for free or low cost clinics.Another good tip is to look into getting your dental needs taken care of at a dental school, students are always looking for patients. And they work under close supervision, so no need to worry. There are also payment options available when it comes to procedures for your teeth. Dentists are more flexible than ever before when it comes to accepting different methods of payment for costly dental work. Among the latest payment strategies are Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Spending Accounts. A flexible spending account allows you to set aside a percentage of your gross, pre-taxed income to pay for eligible health care expenses for you, your spouse, and your dependants. This type of medical expense program is offered exclusively through your participating employer.