How to Overcome Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety is a common condition that affects many people, often preventing them from seeking regular dental care. In this guide, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and consequences of dental anxiety, as well as coping strategies and professional support available to help overcome this fear.

Understanding Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety can be caused by various factors, including a bad experience during a dental visit, fear of pain, or embarrassment about the condition of one’s teeth. The different types of dental anxiety include generalized anxiety, situational anxiety, and dental phobia, which is a more severe form of dental anxiety. Symptoms of dental anxiety can include sweating, rapid heartbeat, and avoidance of dental visits.

How Dental Anxiety affects your health

When faced with something that scares us, our natural tendency is to avoid it. This is especially true for those who suffer from dental phobia, a condition that affects an estimated 9 to 15% of Americans, or roughly 30 to 40 million people.

However, avoiding dental appointments can lead to serious consequences for both dental and overall health.

Neglecting oral hygiene can result in:

  • stained and discolored teeth
  • chipped and cracked teeth
  • gum disease
  • gum recession
  • cavities
  • tooth decay
  • tooth loss

Additionally, symptoms and risk factors for various other dental-related issues, such as TMJ, sleep apnea, and oral cancer, may go undetected or untreated. It is important to remember that going to the dentist is ultimately for one’s benefit and to prioritize dental health in order to maintain overall well-being.

Coping Strategies for Dental Anxiety

Various coping strategies can help alleviate dental anxiety, including mindfulness and relaxation techniques, distraction techniques, deep breathing exercises, and visualization and positive self-talk. These techniques can help individuals feel more in control during dental visits and reduce their fear and anxiety.

Professional Support for Dental Anxiety

Professional support for dental anxiety can include sedation dentistry, which involves using medication to help patients relax during dental procedures, cognitive-behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy, and virtual reality therapy. These therapies can help patients overcome their fear of dental visits and feel more comfortable during dental procedures.

Preparing for Dental Visits

Preparing for dental visits can also help individuals with dental anxiety feel more at ease. Choosing the right dental provider, communicating with the dental team, exploring dental sedation options, and planning for aftercare are all important considerations when preparing for dental visits.

Maintaining Dental Health with Dental Anxiety

Maintaining good oral health is crucial for individuals with dental anxiety, as it can help prevent dental problems from developing. Developing a daily oral care routine, adopting healthy lifestyle habits, scheduling regular dental checkups and cleanings, and seeking support from family and friends can all help individuals with dental anxiety maintain good oral health.

FAQs about Dental Anxiety

What can I do if I am too scared to go to the dentist?

There are various coping strategies and professional support available to help individuals with dental anxiety feel more comfortable during dental visits. Seeking support from a mental health professional can also help individuals address the underlying causes of their fear.

Can dental anxiety be cured?

While dental anxiety cannot be cured completely, it can be managed effectively with the right coping strategies and professional support.

What types of sedation are available for dental anxiety?

There are various types of sedation available for dental anxiety, including nitrous oxide, oral sedation, and IV sedation. The choice of sedation will depend on the patient’s level of anxiety and the type of dental procedure being performed.

How can I help a loved one with dental anxiety?

Encouraging them to seek professional support, accompanying them to dental visits, and providing emotional support can all be helpful in supporting a loved one with dental anxiety.

Will my dental insurance cover sedation dentistry?

Most dental insurance plans do not cover sedation dentistry, although some may cover the cost of nitrous oxide. It is important to check with your dental insurance provider to determine what is covered.


By understanding the causes and symptoms of dental anxiety and seeking help from a mental health professional or a dental provider, individuals can take control of their fear and achieve a healthier, happier smile. Don’t let dental anxiety hold you back from receiving the care you need.

Remember, the first step to overcoming dental anxiety is to acknowledge it and seek help. With the right support, you can conquer your fear and achieve optimal oral health.

For individuals who experience dental anxiety, we offer a supportive and accommodating environment to ensure a comfortable and relaxing dental experience. Our team will tailor each appointment to meet the unique needs of each patient, taking the time to inform and educate along the way.

We understand the importance of feeling confident and at ease during dental visits, and our team is dedicated to providing the best possible experience. Don’t hesitate to let us know how we can make your visit more comfortable and enjoyable.