How to Deal with Dental Anxiety: Tips for Overcoming Fear of the Dentist

Central Dental Family - Patient experiencing dental anxiety

If you have ever felt anxious or scared about going to the dentist, you are not alone. Dental anxiety affects millions of people worldwide and can lead to poor oral health, missed appointments, and delayed treatments. However, there are ways to overcome this fear and have a stress-free dental experience. In this article, we will share some tips on how to deal with dental anxiety and make your next dentist appointment a breeze.

Understanding Dental Anxiety

  • What is dental anxiety?
  • What are the symptoms of dental anxiety?
  • What are the causes of dental anxiety?

Before we discuss the tips on how to deal with dental anxiety, it is important to understand what dental anxiety is, its symptoms, and causes. Dental anxiety is a fear or phobia of the dentist, dental procedures, or anything related to dentistry. It can cause physical symptoms such as sweating, heart palpitations, and nausea. The fear of pain, injections, and the dentist’s judgment are common causes of dental anxiety.

Tips for Overcoming Dental Anxiety

  • Choose the right dentist
  • Communicate with your dentist
  • Distract yourself
  • Practice relaxation techniques
  • Seek professional help

Now that we know what dental anxiety is and its causes, let’s discuss some tips on how to overcome dental anxiety.

Choose the right dentist

Choosing the right dentist can make a huge difference in reducing your anxiety. Look for a dentist who has experience in dealing with anxious patients and uses a gentle approach. Consider asking for recommendations from friends or family or checking online reviews.

Communicate with your dentist

Communicating with your dentist about your fears and concerns can help you feel more comfortable and in control. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or voice your concerns before, during, or after the procedure. Your dentist can also explain the procedure in detail, so you know what to expect.

Distract yourself

Distraction techniques such as listening to music, watching TV, or using virtual reality headsets can help you take your mind off the dental procedure. You can also bring a friend or family member to accompany you during the appointment.

Practice relaxation techniques

Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and visualization can help reduce anxiety and promote calmness. You can also try muscle relaxation exercises such as tensing and releasing your muscles.

Seek professional help

If your dental anxiety is severe, you may need professional help such as therapy or counseling. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy are common treatments for dental anxiety.

Common Causes of Dental Anxiety

As we mentioned earlier, the fear of pain, injections, and the dentist’s judgment are common causes of dental anxiety. Other factors that can contribute to dental anxiety include:

  • Previous bad experiences with dentists
  • Fear of losing control or being vulnerable
  • Sensory issues such as the sound and smell of dental procedures
  • Embarrassment or shame about the condition of your teeth

Understanding the root cause of your dental anxiety can help you address it more effectively.

Choosing the Right Dentist

When choosing a dentist, look for someone who:

  • Has experience in treating anxious patients
  • Is patient and takes the time to explain procedures
  • Uses gentle techniques and sedation if needed
  • Is located in a comfortable and relaxing environment
  • Offers distraction options such as TV, music, or virtual reality

It’s also important to communicate with your dentist about your anxiety, so they can adjust their approach accordingly.

Is It Normal to Feel Anxious About Going to the Dentist?

Yes, it is normal to feel anxious or nervous about going to the dentist. It’s a common fear that affects many people, and there’s no shame in admitting it. The important thing is to take steps to manage your anxiety and not let it prevent you from getting the dental care you need.

Distracting Yourself During a Dental Procedure

Distraction techniques can be helpful in reducing anxiety during a dental procedure. Some options include:

  • Listening to music or an audiobook
  • Watching TV or a movie
  • Bringing a stress ball or fidget toy
  • Using a virtual reality headset

These techniques can help you take your mind off the procedure and feel more relaxed.

Can Therapy Help with Dental Anxiety?

Yes, therapy can be an effective way to manage dental anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors. Exposure therapy is another type of therapy that gradually exposes you to the object of your fear in a safe and controlled environment. These therapies can help you overcome your fear of the dentist and feel more comfortable during dental procedures.

In conclusion, dental anxiety is a common fear that can be managed with the right techniques and approach. By choosing the right dentist, communicating your fears and concerns, using distraction and relaxation techniques, and seeking professional help if needed, you can overcome your dental anxiety and get the dental care you need.


Dental anxiety is a common fear that can be overcome with the right approach. By choosing the right dentist, communicating with them, distracting yourself, practicing relaxation techniques, and seeking professional help, you can make your next dental appointment a stress-free experience.

If you’re looking for a dentist in Downtown Edmonton that can help you manage your dental anxiety, look no further than Central Dental Family Dentistry. Our experienced team is dedicated to providing gentle and compassionate care to all of our patients, including those who are anxious or nervous about dental procedures. We offer a range of services, including sedation dentistry and distraction techniques, to help you feel more comfortable during your visit. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards a healthier, happier smile.

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