How to control dental anxiety and phobia

We understand that a visit to the dentist causes anxiety for most people. Many Americans avoid coming to see us for years due to being fearful. It can be the fear of potential pain, loss of control, or negative memories from a past visit. It may even be the sights, sounds and smells at the office that deter people. Unfortunately, neglecting to go to the dentist on a regular basis can allow oral health issues to go undetected and progress until they become costly and sometimes irreversible. Let’s take a look at some helpful tips that may help you control and minimize your dental anxiety.

Open up to your dentist and the staff

If you share your thoughts and feelings with your dental team, they will be able to create a strategy to help you get through the appointment. We are not new to anxious patients and we empathize with them. You may want us to talk you through the steps so that you know exactly what we are doing. Or, we can talk to you about something unrelated to the dental work taking place. We also offer streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. You can pick something to watch that can distract you from what is going on. You can also bring a set of headphones and play some calming music that takes you to a different environment in your mind. You can use one headphone in one ear, so you can still communicate with your provider. You can also use a specific hand signal that lets us know you need a break. Communicating with us will help us create a smooth and pleasant experience for you.

– stress ball, fidget spinner
– headphones to play music
– we can play relaxing ambient music
– essential oil aromatherapy (pick an essential oil that puts you at ease)
– television program
– avoid holding your breath and try to breathe normally or even take deeper and slower breaths
– don’t be shy to tell us you need a break
– we can turn off the strong lights and just use our lamp and headlamp during the procedure

Timing of your appointment

If you feel rushed during your appointment, your stress level will go up. Book your appointment at a time that is right for you and that works with your schedule. We also offer Saturday appointments for those who cannot take time off work.

Having a buddy with you

If you feel more comfortable having a loved one by your side during treatment, we can accommodate you.

Ask about oral sedation

If you know you are an anxious patient, we can prescribe you medication to take prior to your visit that will help calm you down. This requires you to have someone drive you to the appointment and back.

Gentle Dentistry

We can adapt our techniques to our patients. If they are extra anxious, we can use a lighter touch/hand while we work on them. We can wait longer with the numbing gel before we give anesthetic. We can give some more anesthetic if a patient wants to be “deeply” numb. Or, we can forgo anesthetic all together if that’s what a patient wants. We can speak in a soothing voice and also listen to their concerns. There are plenty of ways that we can provide you with a visit that is as stress-free as possible.

Our team is very aware of dental phobia and we take pride in making our patients feel comfortable. Take a look at our reviews on
that reflect positive experiences with us.

Have a Question? We are here to help.