Check us out on YouTube as we talk teeth #watchyourmouthSpanish
Check us out on YouTube as we talk teeth #watchyourmouthSpanish

Dental Phobia in Adults: Strategies for Unlearning Your Fear of the Dentist

A woman speaking to her dentist about her dental concerns.

Dental anxiety can be overwhelming, debilitating, and even embarrassing. But the truth is that being afraid of the dentist is nothing to be ashamed of, and more importantly, it’s no reason to avoid getting the dental care you need.

Some level of dental anxiety is common among adults and children alike, but the good news is there are plenty of strategies to help you overcome it.

To help you feel more comfortable during your next dental appointment, we’ve compiled this guide to those strategies. Check them out so you can get the care you need with as little discomfort as possible.

The Causes of Dental Anxiety

To better understand how to combat your dental anxiety, it’s a good idea to look at what causes it in the first place. Everyone is different, so the causes of dental anxiety are bound to vary widely, but in general, they are centered around the following:

  • Discomfort
  • Loss of control
  • Shame and embarrassment
  • Fear of certain procedures

If these common reasons for being afraid of the dentist sound familiar, you’ll be happy to know that there are strategies to address your particular fears.

You’ll also be happy to know that modern techniques and cutting-edge technology have made many procedures that were once considered something to fear much faster, simpler, and more comfortable.

Stop Being Afraid of the Dentist With These Strategies

If you’re trying to overcome your dental anxieties to get the care you need, take a look at these easy techniques, and you’ll no doubt feel a lot more comfortable and confident going into your next appointment.

Choose the Right Dentist

It’s an unfortunate fact that some people who suffer from dental anxiety do so because of their past experiences with particular dentists. Not every dentist is as dedicated to providing compassionate care as they should be.

You should seek a dentist who creates a comforting environment, employs an empathetic staff, and is receptive when you express your fears.

Another thing to consider is the environment your dentist provides. You’ll feel much more at ease if you receive dental care in a welcoming and comforting space.

Clearly Communicate Your Anxieties

Simply speaking about your fears aloud can take some of the power away from them and provide you with a bit more control.

When you express your fears to your dentist, you also allow them to alleviate those fears by providing extra comforting care or by going over the process with you step by step so that you can demystify it a bit.

You are not the first person to express your dental anxieties to your dentist, nor will you be the last. They have plenty of experience helping patients resolve their fears and become more comfortable. Don’t go it alone; let them know!

Visit the Dentist Beforehand or Come Early to Your Appointment

Part of being afraid of the dentist comes from having to go through new experiences in an unfamiliar environment with people you don’t know very well.

You can make that environment and those people more familiar if you come to your dentist’s office before the day of your procedure or simply a bit early so that you can get to know the place and meet everyone.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

There are a few ways to feel a bit more relaxed before you go in for your dental procedure. Meditation and controlled breathing exercises can be highly effective, and you can do them anytime.

Some people have also claimed to have had success with things like acupuncture, cognitive-behavioral therapy, functional relaxation therapy, and even hypnotherapy.

Use Sedation Dentistry

When all else fails, there’s always sedation dentistry to help you feel more relaxed during your time with the dentist. There are three different types of sedation dentistry.

Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)

This form of sedation won’t make you fall asleep but rather help you feel more at ease during your procedure.

Oral Sedative

Oral sedatives, typically an anti-anxiety medication, can be taken before a procedure to help things go as smoothly as possible.

IV Sedation

This form of sedation dentistry is reserved for more complicated procedures. It’s administered intravenously and is designed to put you to sleep during the procedure.

Compassionate Care From Dr. Brett Langston

Being afraid of the dentist is nothing to be ashamed of. Reach out to Dental Implant & Aesthetic Specialists, and we’ll help you feel as comfortable as possible while you receive the care you need.