Dental Anxiety: Tips To Overcome Your Fears

Dental anxiety is far more common than a lot of people think. For instance, a study carried out in the United States titled ' The Prevalence of Dental Anxiety in Dental Practice Settings' suggests that 9% to 20% of patients suffer from a high level of anxiety. The aim of this article is to help explain dental anxiety in more detail, common causes and techniques to help overcome it. This is an important subject because many people avoid the dentist due to this condition, resulting in poor oral health and more complex issues that could have easily been avoided if treatment had been received earlier. As a dental practice, we want to share some of our firsthand experience, helping you understand this issue and potential solutions to overcome it.

What Is Dental Anxiety?

Dental anxiety is associated with individuals who have a fear or underlying apprehension associated with visiting a dentist or undergoing a dental procedure. Depending on the individual, the symptoms can vary greatly. Some of the more common associated symptoms include:

  • Sweating.
  • Panic attacks.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Trembling/shaking.
  • A feeling of nervousness.
  • The feeling of helplessness.
  • Avoidance of anything to do with a dentist.

One of the main issues associated with dental anxiety is that left untreated is that it can manifest, resulting in a worsening of the condition.

Common Triggers And Causes Of Anxiety

People may feel anxious about visiting a dental practice or receiving treatment for many reasons. Depending on the individual, some of the causes for this fearfulness can be caused by the following:

  1. Hearing from others about their negative experience or certain portrayals in the media that highlight a traumatic experience, this is especially true for movies.
  2. Unfortunately, a bad dental experience can have long-lasting negative effects. This is why it is important to find the right dentist.
  3. We like to be in control. Some people feel a degree of uncertainty during their dental experience, so it is good practice to ask your dentist questions before any appointment.
  4. Unfamiliar surroundings and different sounds and smells can make some people feel anxious. A dental practice, with its unfamiliar equipment and environment, can sometimes create this feeling.
  5. Fear of equipment and needles is quite a common issue. Now, gels are available to help numb the gum before injection, making the procedure even less painful.

Self Help And Empowerment

Many techniques can help alleviate your anxiety, and they can be completed without the need for professional help. Below are some tips that can help you overcome or at least reduce your dental anxiety.

  • Breathing: Breathing exercises are a proven method for reducing stress and anxiety. Incorporating practices like diaphragmatic breathing before visiting a dentist can have positive benefits.
  • Distractions: Many dental practices already use this method by playing music or TV. You can also try listening to your own music, playing a podcast or reading a book.
  • Yoga/Meditation: Yoga can help with anxiety, improve mental and physical well-being, and help you stay calm in stressful situations.
  • Knowledge: Read up on how to better prepare yourself for your next dental visit or treatment. Understand the importance of regular dental visits and how it will benefit you. Focus on the positives that visiting a dentist will bring.
  • Rewards: After each dental visit, reward yourself with a treat or do an activity you enjoy. Positive reinforcements can go a long way.
  • Companion: It can often help if you bring a friend or family member to support you. They can provide emotional support and a familiar face.
  • Gradual exposure: This can be implemented in several ways. One of the most common is having the dental treatment broken down into smaller stages.
  • Apps: Numerous apps can help with fear, stress and anxiety. Some of the better, well-known ones are Headspace, Calm, Dental Fearless, DARE, Rootd and Fale.

By combining or using just one of these strategies, you might be able to overcome your fears.


As a dental practice in Richmond, we understand dental anxiety is a significant issue for many individuals seeking oral health care. By acknowledging and actively recognising dental anxiety, we aim to offer a supportive and comfortable environment tailored to each patient’s needs.

We aim to help our patients with the knowledge and self-help strategies to manage their anxiety effectively. We are dedicated to ensuring that every visit is smooth and stress-free.

Remember, taking that first step towards overcoming dental anxiety is important, and Kew Road Dental is always available to discuss your concerns or fears.

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