Tips and Tricks to Help You Overcome Dental Anxiety and Fear

Posted on April 16, 2023

Closeup portrait young terrified girl woman scared at dentist visit, siting in chair, funny looking with fear, doesn't want dental procedure drilling tooth extraction isolated clinic office background

Do your palms start sweating at the thought of a dental appointment? Does the sound of dental equipment make your heart race? If so, you might be suffering from dental anxiety and fear.

Dental anxiety is a real fear that many people experience. It can manifest as fear of pain, embarrassment, or loss of control.  If you’re one of the people who experience dental anxiety and fear, take note, there are things you can do to make dental visits less stressful. 

In this article, we will provide you with tips and tricks to help you overcome dental anxiety and fear so you can maintain your oral health and well-being.

What is Dental Anxiety?

Dental anxiety refers to fear, nervousness, and apprehension about visiting a dentist. It is a common condition, affecting millions of people worldwide. People who suffer from dental anxiety may experience symptoms such as sweating, pounding heartbeat, difficulty breathing, and dizziness at the thought of visiting a dental clinic.

This fear often stems from specific experiences with dentists or from hearing horror stories from friends or family. Dental anxiety can lead people to avoid dental checkups, which can cause further dental problems. It is essential to identify and manage dental anxiety to avoid dental problems and maintain optimal dental health.

Overcoming Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety is a very common condition that affects millions of people around the globe. It can range from mild uneasiness to extreme fear and can lead to avoiding visits to the dentist altogether.

Overcoming dental anxiety is important because regular dental check-ups and treatments are essential for maintaining good dental health. There are various techniques that can be used to overcome dental anxiety, such as deep breathing exercises, distraction techniques, and sedation options.

It is important to communicate with your dental professional about any anxieties you may have so they can work with you to create a comfortable and positive experience. With the right tools and support, dental anxiety can be overcome.

Speak Up About Your Fears

One effective tip to help reduce dental anxiety is to simply speak up about your fears. Let your dentist know that you are anxious about the appointment, and ask them to take extra steps to make you feel more comfortable.

This may include explaining procedures in detail, taking breaks during the appointment, or using calming techniques like deep breathing exercises. By communicating openly with your dentist, you can work together to find effective strategies for overcoming your dental anxiety and maintaining good oral health.  So, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for what you need to feel more at ease.

Agree on a Signal

One effective strategy is to agree on a signal with your dentist. This can be as simple as raising your hand, nodding your head, or making a gesture with your eyes. The key is to communicate with your dentist about how you’re feeling during the procedure.

By agreeing on a signal beforehand, you can feel more in control and confident during the appointment. It’s important to remember that your dentist is there to help you, and they want you to feel comfortable and safe. 

Bring Distractions

One way to ease dental anxiety is by bringing distractions with you. Some people find that listening to calming music or an audiobook can help take their minds off of the dental procedure. Others prefer to bring a stress ball or fidget toy to keep their hands occupied.

It is important to communicate with your dentist about your anxiety and ask if it is okay to bring distractions into the dental office. With the right distractions, you can ease your anxiety and make your trip to the dentist a more comfortable experience.

Practice Mindfulness Before and During Your Visit

Practicing mindfulness before and during your visit involves focusing your attention on your breathing while letting go of negative thoughts and worries. It can also be helpful to bring headphones and listen to calming music during your appointment. With practice, these techniques can help you feel more relaxed and comfortable during your dental visits.

Don’t Let One Bad Experience Dictate the Rest

Dental anxiety is a common problem for many people and can be a major barrier to receiving necessary dental care. However, it’s important to remember that one bad experience doesn’t have to dictate the rest.

There are several tips and techniques that can help you overcome your fear of going to the dentist. By taking proactive steps to manage your anxiety, you can get the dental care you need and maintain good oral health.

Deep Breathing

One tip that can help with overcoming dental anxiety is to practice deep breathing techniques. Start by finding a quiet and comfortable place to sit, and take a few slow, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.

Try to focus on each breath, and as you exhale, imagine any tension or stress leaving your body. Deep breathing can calm your nerves and help you feel more relaxed during your dental appointment.

Guided Imagery

Guided imagery is one technique that can help overcome this fear. Guided imagery involves imagining yourself in a soothing and relaxing environment while you’re at the dentist’s office. This can include focusing on calming images like a beach, a forest, or a waterfall.

By focusing on these calming images and breathing deeply, you can help reduce your feelings of anxiety and feel more relaxed during your dental appointment. It’s important to talk to your dentist about your anxiety and work together to find techniques that work for you.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation is a useful technique for overcoming dental anxiety. This method involves tensing and then relaxing each muscle group of the body slowly. It helps to reduce tension and anxiety in muscles, leading to feelings of calmness and relaxation.

By practicing progressive muscle relaxation before visiting the dentist, the patient can feel more relaxed and comfortable during the treatment. This technique is an effective way to overcome dental anxiety and maintain good oral health.

Can Dental Phobia Be Cured?

Dental phobia, or the fear of going to the dentist, is a common issue that affects many people. While it may not be completely curable, there are ways to manage and overcome the fear.

One of the most effective methods is cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps patients identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors associated with dental visits. Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or visualization, can also be helpful in reducing anxiety.

Some dentists offer sedation options for patients who have severe anxiety. With the right treatment and support, dental phobia can be managed and overcome, allowing individuals to receive the dental care they need for optimal oral health.


In conclusion, dental anxiety and fear can be a challenging experience that affects many people. However, there are many techniques and strategies that you can use to overcome these feelings and take control of your oral health. From deep breathing and visualization to therapy and medication, there are many resources available to help you manage your anxiety and feel more comfortable during dental appointments. 

At Smilebliss, we understand the importance of addressing dental anxiety and we are committed to providing a welcoming, calming environment for all of our patients. Don’t let the fear hold you back from achieving optimal oral health. Contact us today to learn more about our anxiety-reducing techniques and services.

Click here to return to top of page arrow leading back to top