How to Deal with Dental Anxiety Before a Visit

Dental anxiety is a real and serious issue for many people, affecting their ability to seek necessary oral healthcare. This anxiety can stem from various sources, such as past traumatic experiences, fear of pain, or the sounds and smells of the dental office. However, avoiding the dentist due to anxiety can lead to poor oral health, complicating conditions that are much easier to treat in their early stages. In this blog, we explore effective tips for managing dental anxiety, helping you to face your next dental appointment with increased confidence and calm.

Understanding Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety involves fear, anxiety, or stress in a dental setting. It can manifest as slight nervousness to severe phobia, causing individuals to skip dental appointments altogether. Recognizing the source of your anxiety is the first step in addressing it. Common triggers include:

  • Fear of pain
  • Embarrassment about oral health condition
  • Negative past experiences
  • Fear of injections or the drill noise

Tips for Managing Dental Anxiety

Communicate Your Fears

Openly discussing your fears with your dentist can significantly alleviate anxiety. Dentists are trained to handle anxious patients and can adjust treatment techniques, pace, or even the setting to help make you more comfortable.

Bring a Companion

Having a trusted friend or family member accompany you to your appointment can provide emotional support and make the experience less intimidating.

Use Distraction Techniques

Bringing headphones to listen to your favorite music or audiobooks can distract you and help reduce anxiety. Some dental offices are equipped with TVs or virtual reality goggles to help distract patients during procedures.

Practice Deep Breathing or Meditation

Deep breathing exercises can help control panic and maintain a relaxed state of mind. Practice these techniques before and during the appointment to help keep your anxiety in check.

Schedule Wisely

Book your dental appointment at a time when you’re less likely to feel rushed or stressed. For many, this might be in the morning. Less anxiety about external pressures can help you feel more relaxed at the dentist.

Seek Professional Help

If your dental anxiety is severe, consider counseling or therapy. Professionals can help you develop strategies to manage your anxiety effectively.

Consider Sedation Options

Talk to your dentist about sedation options. From mild sedatives to general anesthesia, various levels of sedation can help you through different types of dental procedures.

Visit the Dental Office Before Your Appointment

Familiarizing yourself with the dental office environment can ease fears. Request a pre-visit where you can meet the staff, see the treatment rooms, and learn about the procedure without the pressure of undergoing treatment.

The Importance of Regular Dental Visits

Avoiding the dentist only increases the likelihood of requiring more invasive treatments in the future. Regular check-ups can prevent many dental problems from developing and help you build a positive relationship with your dental care provider, reducing anxiety over time.


Managing dental anxiety is key to maintaining your oral health. By using these strategies, you can reduce your anxiety and make your dental visits more bearable. Remember, your dentist is your partner in oral health and is there to help you have the most comfortable experience possible. Don’t hesitate to communicate your needs and take control of your dental anxiety.

Dr. Snehlata Kulhari

Dr. Snehlata Kulhari completed her Bachelors of Dental Surgery (BDS) at Government Dental College in Punjab, India and her Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree at the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine in Boston. She has been practicing dentistry since 2011 and has founded Smile Mantra Family Dentistry to provide dental care and education to the community of Cary, NC. Dr. Kulhari stays up to date on the latest dental research and advancements in order to offer her patients exceptional dental care. 


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