HomeHealthScared of the Dentist? 8 Ways to Cope With Dental Anxiety

Scared of the Dentist? 8 Ways to Cope With Dental Anxiety

If you’re afraid of going to the dentist, you’re not alone. Known as dental anxiety, it’s fairly common for many people. There are various reasons people suffer from it. Sometimes, it’s due to fear of needles, stress about the dental treatment costs, or embarrassment of the current state of their dental health.

The fear can be extreme for others, causing them to avoid dental clinics altogether. However, this increases the likelihood of them experiencing dental health issues that can lead to serious repercussions.

If your dental anxiety keeps you from getting proper oral care, here are some of the ways to cope with it:

Consider Sedation

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One of the ways to cope with dental anxiety is by considering sedation. Your dentist may recommend the best sedation clinic services if you’re unsure about the suitable options

Some of the common types of sedation include:

  • Nitrous oxide – Also referred to as the laughing gas, this form of sedation will make you feel at ease and more relaxed. Typically, the dentist administers the gas through a nosepiece or mask, and you immediately feel the effects. When the dentist reverses it, you can drive yourself after dental treatment.
  • Oral conscious sedation (OCS) – It’s a prescribed medication that patients usually take as a pill, making them feel relaxed. It also has a calming effect and makes you sleepy. Unlike nitrous oxide, you’ll need somebody to escort you during your appointment as you may be unable to drive home after the appointment.

The most suitable sedation type for you may depend on the dental procedures you need to undergo, like dental implants. So, ask your dentist before considering anything.

Find A Dental Office Where You Feel Safe

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Another way to cope with dental anxiety is to look for a clinic where you feel the most comfortable. It should make you feel heard and safe. This way, you can trust what the staff and dentist recommend without feeling scared.

When looking for a dental office, there are some factors you need to consider. One of these is the dentist’s qualification and reputation. A reliable one has been in the industry for several years and is known for its credibility in offering quality oral health services.

In addition, be sure to ask questions. The unknown can be frightening, so doing this will help you understand more about dental procedures and other related aspects.

Once you find the right clinic, schedule your first visit immediately. It’ll help you assess how a dental clinic cares for patients with dental anxiety.

Bring A Loved One

Find somebody you can trust and accompany you during your dental appointment. They can be a friend or family member who isn’t afraid of the dentist and can be your pillar of strength. The best buddy also provides a pep talk to motivate you to push through with your dental appointment.

When you’re in the dental clinic, knowing you have somebody out there waiting for you can help you feel safe and relaxed, reducing your dental anxiety.

Distract Yourself

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Doing some activities can take your mind off the ongoing procedure. It may seem unlikely, particularly if you’re nervous, but such distractions may help.

Some of the things you can do while in the dental clinic are as follows:

  • Listen to your favorite music playlist. It helps you calm your nerves and prevents you from seeing dental tools or hearing drilling sounds that cause anxiety.
  • Try to imagine happy thoughts. It takes your mind off your current situation and promotes calmness.

Aside from the above, you can consider what your dental clinic offers. For example, some clinics offer refreshments to help patients relax and lessen their anxiety. Watching television is also an effective distraction.

Attend Your Scheduled Appointments

Dental anxiety often causes many people to cancel appointments. However, the longer you don’t visit a dental clinic, the more you’ll feel scared about returning. And without a regular dental checkup, it can take a toll on your oral health.

So, instead of canceling your appointments, face your fears by attending every single one of them. Once you do this, it can help you cope with dental anxiety successfully, one appointment at a time.

Practice Proper Breathing Exercises

Practicing breathing exercises is commonly used to manage various types of anxiety, including dental anxiety. Once you experience the symptoms like sweating, such exercises are an effective coping method.

When you slow your breathing, it reduces your body’s stress response. A fast heart rate and rapid breathing indicate it’s time to flight or fight. On the contrary, slower breathing promotes a slower heart rate, helping you to relax better.

Practicing breathing exercises helps you successfully manage your dental anxiety, enabling you to visit your dentist without feeling so much stress.

Talk About Dental Anxiety

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Another effective way to cope with dental anxiety is to talk about it. Rather than suffering in silence, voice your concerns or anything that scares you when visiting a dental clinic. Doing so will help your dentist know the best possible strategies they can consider to manage your dental anxiety.

No matter what your subconscious might have you believe, your dentist is a caring and normal person dedicated to helping you achieve the best possible oral health. Moreover, talking to your dentist allows them to care for your emotional and dental health.

See A Professional Therapist

Dental anxiety has many causes. Sometimes, knowing the root cause and working through it may help resolve the problem. This is why seeing a professional therapist is beneficial. Talking about your worries and fears with an objective party can help you address the issue more effectively. If you participate in the therapist’s regular sessions, it’s possible to completely resolve your dental anxiety in the long run.


Dental anxiety affects adults and children. While dealing with it isn’t easy, overcoming it using the above tips is possible. It’ll help you keep up with your dental appointments and get on top of your oral health. Finally, it’s a must to be honest with your dentist, so they’ll know what techniques will help you feel relaxed.

Anita Kantar
Anita Kantar
I'm Anita Kantar, a content editor at SQM Club. My role? Aligning content with company goals. Joining SQM marked a career milestone. Outside work, I enjoy literature and time with loved ones. Passionate about lifestyle, travel, and culinary arts, blending creativity with expertise. My journey? Curiosity about cultures and flavors, making me a trusted voice in lifestyle, travel, and culinary content.
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