5 Tips for Dealing with Dental Anxiety

5 Tips for Dealing with Dental Anxiety

While many people dislike having routine dental work done, dental anxiety is more than just an unpleasant feeling associated with going to the dentist. For up to 15 percent of the United States population, dental anxiety may be paralyzing. These people may have sick or panicky feelings when even thinking about dental appointments. They may dread the sensations of a dental appointment so much that they procrastinate this important medical need, sometimes going years between cleanings. Of course, this plan backfires, because neglected teeth often need more care with further expensive follow-up appointments and sometimes painful procedures.

Not going to the dentist is a poor choice, since good dental care is essential to good health. But, if you experience dental anxiety, how should you handle these appointments? Here are several tips to help you get through a dreaded dental visit in Mesa, Arizona.

Identify your triggers

Identify your triggersBefore you go to the dentist, it may help you to think about what exactly triggers your dental fear in Phoenix. For some people, every aspect is unpleasant, but try to identify the top two or three things that worry you most. Fear of pain is usually one of the biggest problems to overcome. You may be able to get through this by reminding yourself that dentists do not want to cause their patients pain and if you are hurting, the dentist will want to address it. Mentally rehearse what you will do if you have dental work done and you are not numb enough. Simply telling the dentist that it hurts and you need more pain medicine should address this fear.

For some patients, dental visits are triggers due to reminders of past unpleasant experiences. If in the past a dentist has seemed uncaring, you should look for a new dentist in Mesa. There are too many dentists who do care about their patients’ welfare to keep going to one who is unkind.

After you have identified the triggers of your dental anxiety, mentally rehearse how you will deal with these challenges if you start feeling panicky in the dentist office.

Distract yourself

Many patients find the sounds and sensations of dental visits very unnerving. To distract themselves, they use headphones attached to a phone playing an audio book or music while dental work is being performed. Some dentists have televisions in view of patients so that the patients can focus on a movie or television show instead of how nervous they are during an appointment.

Save up for appointments and keep them regularly

Save up for appointments and keep them regularlyDental bills can be scary, and many people use money as an excuse to not face their fears and keep their dental appointments. However, this strategy can backfire. When you skip appointments for several years, it shows in your teeth. You may have decay or plaque buildup, and need more extensive and expensive dental work requiring several follow-up appointments.

To keep dental work from breaking the budget every few years, create space in your budget to save up for dental work. Most dentists can let you know at a routine cleaning if extensive dental work will be needed in the near future, giving you time to save up for it. Additionally, many dental offices are willing to work on payment plans if money is tight for your family.

Confide in the dental staff

Don’t suffer needlessly. The dental staff understand that many people suffer from dental anxiety and want to help you be more comfortable during your visit. They won’t think you’re silly if you let them know what you are dealing with. Work out a hand signal so that you can alert the dentist or the assistant if your anxiety is getting the best of you during a procedure. They will be glad to take a few minutes break to allow you to recover.

Request dental sedation

For many people, dental sedation is the best way of handling their anxieties about going to the dentist. Some procedures may require the patient to breathe nitrous oxide, while other times, patients are prescribed a pill or intravenous drug to help them relax. Both of these types of dental sedation don’t completely render the patient unconscious, but they do relax the patient. Often, patients have very little memory of what happened at the dentist afterward. Sometimes general anesthesia is needed for more complex procedures.


Don’t allow dental anxiety prevent you from addressing this important part of your health. Call your dentist in Mesa to brainstorm ways to deal with dental worries. Chances are, if you have a few low-stress appointments, you will begin to stop dreading the dentist altogether.