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8 Tips to Overcome Dental Anxiety


Dental anxiety is a prevalent condition that prevents a significant number of individuals from seeking necessary dental care. The dread and anxiety associated with dental visits can negatively impact oral health and well-being as a whole. It is essential to recognize, however, that dental anxiety can be managed and overcome.

Dental Anxiety symptoms

Fear or unease that is intense

Feeling intense worry or apprehension in relation to dental visits or procedures.

Having difficulty sleeping the night before a dental appointment

Having difficulties falling or keeping asleep as a result of anticipation or anxiety over an upcoming dental visit.

Palpitations and increased heart rate

When thinking about or being in a dental office, you may have a racing heart or palpitations.

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Sweating or shaking

When visiting the dentist, you may notice extreme sweating or trembling of your hands or torso.

Feeling sick or having gastrointestinal problems

Having an unsettled stomach, feeling sick, or, in severe situations, vomiting.

Anxiety attacks

Fear or panic attacks that are abrupt and powerful, are typically accompanied by shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, or a sense of impending doom.

Dental appointments are avoided.

Procrastinating or skipping dental visits because of fear or anxiety, even while aware of the significance of dental care.

Tears or emotional discomfort

Feeling emotionally overwhelmed, tearful, or extremely anxious while at the dentist or simply anticipating a dental visit.

Pain anticipation and hypervigilance

Constantly anticipating or picturing pain during dental procedures can heighten anxiety and make the experience more stressful.

Having trouble sitting still or feeling restless

Having difficulty remaining calm and motionless in the dental chair, with the want to move or flee the situation.

So, today we will discuss some effective techniques for overcoming dental anxiety and achieving a stress-free dental experience.

How to manage Dental anxiety?

Find a Caring and Compassionate Dentist

Find a dentist who understands your fears and concerns as the initial step in overcoming dental anxiety. Look for a dental professional who specializes in treating anxious patients or who has a reputation for being delicate and compassionate. Before beginning treatment, schedule a consultation to discuss your anxiety and ensure you are comfortable with their approach.

Describe Your Fears

Open communication is crucial for overcoming dental anxiety. Discuss your specific fears and anxieties with your dentist, and be candid about your prior experiences. This will allow them to modify their approach to your specific requirements. Developing a relationship of trust and mutual understanding with your dentist will make you feel more at ease during visits.

Exposure and Desensitisation Gradually

Consider a gradual exposure strategy if your dental anxiety is severe. To progressively acclimatize yourself to the dental environment, begin with simple, non-invasive procedures such as a routine examination or teeth cleaning. As your confidence grows, progress progressively to more involved treatments. This desensitization process can aid in the gradual reduction of anxiety.

Techniques for Deep Breathing and Relaxation

The application of relaxation techniques can significantly reduce dental anxiety. Before and during dental procedures, deep breathing exercises, meditation, or listening to calming music can help you unwind. Regular practice of these techniques will help you cultivate a sense of calm for dental visits.

Distraction Techniques

Distracting yourself during dental procedures can help divert your attention from anxiety-provoking thoughts. Consider bringing headphones and playing your preferred music, an audiobook, or a podcast. Some dental offices even provide virtual reality headsets, allowing patients to experience an entirely distinct environment.

Anaesthetic Dentistry

Sedation dentistry is a viable option for individuals with severe dental anxiety. Various levels of sedation are available, ranging from mild oral sedatives to intravenous sedation. Discuss the sedation options with your dentist to determine the most suitable one for your needs.

Seek Support

Remember that your dental anxiety is not unique. Reach out to friends, family, or support groups with whom you can share your experiences and concerns. Hearing the experiences of others and realizing that many have overcome dental anxiety is immensely empowering.

Routine Dental Care and Preventive Care

In order to prevent dental problems that may exacerbate anxiety, it is essential to practice good oral hygiene and schedule regular dental checkups. By proactively addressing oral health issues, you can reduce the need for more invasive procedures and anxiety-inducing situations.


You should not let dental anxiety prevent you from achieving optimal oral health. You can gain control over your dental anxiety and have a positive dental experience by employing these techniques. Remember, it’s essential to find a caring dentist who understands your fears and supports you throughout the process. You can surmount dental anxiety and obtain a healthy, confident smile with patience, communication, and a proactive approach.


Is dental anxiety common?

Yes, dental anxiety is a prevalent condition that affects a large number of people. According to studies, between 9% and 20% of people have some amount of dental anxiety, with varied degrees of severity. This anxiety can range from slight uneasiness and anxiousness to panic attacks and intense terror. Fear of pain, past traumatic experiences, a sense of loss of control, embarrassment, or the sound and smell of dental procedures are all common causes of dental anxiety.

Can dental anesthesia cause anxiety?

In many instances, a syringe and catheter are used to administer dental anesthesia. The sight or anticipation of a needle can induce anxiety or distress in individuals with a phobia of needles (trypanophobia).

What is Dental anxiety?

Dental anxiety refers to the dread, unease, or apprehension individuals feel when contemplating dental visits or dental procedures. It is a prevalent condition that can range from mild anxiety to severe phobia, limiting a person’s ability to seek and receive necessary dental care.

What is the dental anxiety scale?

The Dental Anxiety Scale (DAS) measures dental anxiety. It was invented by Corah in 1969 and refined by researchers. Individuals react to a series of questions or statements on the DAS, expressing their level of agreement or disagreement.

Several DAS modifications have been created to better assess dental anxiety. These modified measures assess dental treatment-specific fears, concerns, and physiological reactions.

The DAS helps dentists and researchers identify patients with significant dental anxiety who need extra support during dentist visits. The measure helps dentists understand patients’ fears and modify their approach to make dental visits more comfortable and anxiety-free.

Dr. Kiran MDS

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