What Is Dental Anxiety And How To Overcome It?

Written by Dr. Reuben Sim
Published: 23-01-2022

Are you anxious about coming to see a dentist or do you know someone who is? You are not alone! One-third of Australians are actually fearful of coming to the dentist. Dental anxiety can affect you in many ways because it actually causes you to not want to see a dentist, and that could have detrimental effects on your health in the long term.


There are basically three mains reasons why people are fearful. Number one is could be fear of being embarrassed by the dentist. Some people actually don’t see a dentist for 10, 15, 20 years and they might think there could be lot of things going on in their mouth, and they are just worried that they might be judged and they might be reprimanded by the dentist. The second reason why people are fearful of coming to the dentist is because they’re fearful of the pain, of the injections, the needles, the drilling, the noise. So these are things that can be easily avoided and I will explain to you how down the track. The third reason why people are fearful of coming to the dentist is because they’re fearful of the unknown. They might be fearful of the cost, or they might be fearful of the intensity of the treatment, or they’re fearful of what needs to be done to get their health from A to Z, meaning that basically they don’t know what it takes to get the teeth from bad to good.

Here are some ways to overcome your dental fear. One way is to actually find a dental practice that has got an experience or a special interest in dealing with anxious patients. This has been such a widespread things these days, that I’ve been actually invited to speak on Channel 9 about six or eight months ago to help patients overcome dental fear. So find a place who can understand you fear, your needs, because it’s a very different need that you have compared to someone who’s got no issues coming to the dentist at all. Another way to actually help you overcome your fear would be to actually communicate this very clearly with your dentist from the outset, because the clearer that you communicate to the dentist, the better the result will be, because they will understand where you are coming from, what needs to be done, and allows them to actually get to your needs and help you with that.

The third way to actually help you overcome your fear would be to have a relaxation technique. For example, slow deep breaths when you are on the chair, or just focus your mind on something else that makes you happy, or even distract yourself by listening to some music, so that it takes your mind away from what’s being done in your mouth. The fourth thing would be to find a place where you can do sleep dentistry. Sleep dentistry is where you can be knocked out, put to sleep, and the dentist will be able to get all the work done under one visit. That way it allows you to overcome the initial anxiety, then all you need to do is just a six-monthly maintenance and recall, and I’m certain that once you’ve got a good experience, you can do the second or third visit without much anxiety.

To recap, here are the four things that can allow or helps you overcome your dental fear. Number one, find a practice that understands your needs and a practice that has a special interest in managing dental anxiety. Communicate this to your dentist, so he can better serve you, and the more we know about your needs, and your wants, and your fears the better the outcome will be for you as well. Employ a type of relaxation technique, where you’re breathing slower, take slow deep breaths, listening to some music in your headphones. Find a place that can help you with getting things done when you’re asleep and when you wake up it’s all finished.

Hopefully, this has helped you in terms of the ways to overcome your dental anxiety. If you know someone who can benefit from this information, please feel free to share it with them, because I want to be able to help all of our anxious patients out there!