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Getting Over Dental Anxiety

Updated on May 16, 2013
Discuss your anxiety with your dentist. Using relaxation techniques can help.
Discuss your anxiety with your dentist. Using relaxation techniques can help. | Source

anxiety at the dentist office affect nearly 15 percent of all americans

Anxiety disorders affect an astounding 20 million Americans. These are not the common situations which cause a little anxiousness many individuals encounter in their daily lives. These are more intense feelings of fear which are overwhelming. Generalized anxiety disorders producing symptoms severe enough to need treatment are realized by these millions of people every day.

One of the most common types of anxiety disorders for lots of people is dental anxiety. This is the overwhelming and sometimes paralyzing fear felt by anyone who needs dental services. Whether this is an appointment for a simple cleaning and examination, x-rays or getting a tooth filled, they are anxious before during and sometimes after the appointment.

Whether you are old, young, large, small, male or female you could fall into this category of anxiety disorders. In most cases a panic attack will likely occur as a result of dental anxiety. Sometimes even the thought of possibly having a panic attack due to dental anxiety will make a patient have one, which is ironic.


Nearly 15 percent of everyone in the country admits they skip dental appointments because of anxiety at the dentist office. Even though you realize the fear is irrational, it will not change the fact you still feel that way. Most patients are able to control the fear working together with their dentist.

A good number of persons have a dental phobia because they fear potential pain. Some have had a bad experience at the dentist or grew up when pain free dentistry was not as advanced as what is available now. Flashing back to a bad experience will create the fear every time you have an appointment.

Numerous people admit feeling out of control sitting in the dental chair and this overwhelms them. For people with a control factor with their dental anxiety, anesthetic will amplify the feelings. Anyone self-conscious about a stranger poking around in their mouth or being extremely close in a most personal situation will also feel this way.

The sound and smells around you can bring about a panic attack. As the drilling or poking and prodding continues, the feelings of panic will increase


Many people find these circumstances bring on physical feelings. They will have trouble breathing, racing pulse, difficulty sleeping or even a full blown panic attack associated with dental anxiety.

What you can do

Discuss the problem with your dentist. This is an important step in the right direction. No matter how silly you feel. Sometimes simply having them give an explanation of what is happening or what they expect to happen is enough to ease the anxiety.

If the dentist understands what bothers you, he or she can find ways to work around it. You could set up hand signals to alert your dentist to your discomfort or that you need a break because of your feelings of panic.

Patients with a dentist not willing to deal with the anxiety or unwilling to help should shop for another dentist.

Relaxation tips

Try relaxation techniques at the dental office. Squeeze on muscle at a time for a few seconds. After a few seconds, let it go limp. Focus your attention on how good that part of your body feels in this relaxed state.

Pay total attention to your breathing to distract your mind from fearful thoughts. Inhale trough your nose slowly. This will fill your lungs from the top to the bottom. Exhale through your mouth. You can repeat this breathing method as often as needed.

In conclusion

Modern dentistry has evolved enough where pain is not an option. It should not hurt. Even though most people would rather be somewhere else, dental anxiety is real and can be dealt with by using relaxation tips and working closely with an understanding dentist.

Amazon has several ways to help with anxiety and panic attacks


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    • smcopywrite profile image

      smcopywrite 4 years ago from all over the web

      your welcome. there are millions of people who experience this everyday and miss out on medical care they need because of it. you only get the one set of teeth and should do everything possible to keep them.

    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 4 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      It is funny to find this hub, as I just had a root canal. I myself have never had dental anxiety, but I know people who do. Great hub. Thanks for sharing the info.