How To Overcome Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety is very common among our patients at Hallock Family Dental.  Avoiding dental visits can lead to worsening dental conditions, a greater need for urgent care, or more complex treatments. Dental anxiety doesn’t have to stop you from having a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile. Read on to learn about how you can overcome dental anxiety. 

What is Dental Anxiety?

Dental anxiety is the fear, anxiety, or stress associated with dental procedures. Things like needles, drills, or the dental environment often trigger dental anxiety. Up to 20% of Americans are avoiding the dentist due to dental anxiety. Dental anxiety can affect anyone, but certain groups of people may be especially vulnerable. Past experiences, the stories we hear, and the perceptions of our loved ones can influence how we respond to our dental care needs. Children are often afraid of new experiences, and the sights and sounds of a dentist’s office can be intimidating. People with mental illness are at higher risk for dental anxiety symptoms. People with dental anxiety may experience the following sign or symptoms:

  • Sweating

  • Quick heartbeats

  • Heart palpitations

  • Low blood pressure

  • Syncope

  • Crying

  • Panic attack

  • Anger or aggression

  • Feeling overwhelmed 

  • Nervousness that gets worse over time

  • Not being able to sleep the day before your dental appointment

Ways To Overcome Dental Anxiety 

Your doctor and/or therapist aren’t the only ones who can help you overcome your dental anxiety. A qualified, caring dentist can also help reduce your dental fear by:

1. Offering sedation – Several of our patients from all age groups feel anxiety or distress when coming to our office. To relieve some of the discomfort, we take several steps including using nitrous oxide to help patients relax and overcome fears of certain procedures.

2. Technology can help you – If you feel dental anxiety using your smartphone or another device to listen to music or watch your favorite show can alleviate some of the stress.

3. Go with someone – Having someone wait for you in the lobby might help you relieve some of the anxiety.  Find someone you trust who can be your support and who isn’t afraid to accompany you to the dentist. 

4. Ask questions – Don’t be afraid to ask your dentist about the procedure being done. You’ll also learn how to prepare for various procedures and maintain your oral health between visits, which will help reduce your fear of the dentist.

5. Take breaks – If you need to take a break during a procedure, do so! We recommend agreeing with our team members on a signal like raising your left hand before starting. If at any point during your dental procedure you feel anxious or uncomfortable, just signal and we’ll pause to give you a break.

6. Dental advances –  Dental treatments have completely changed over the years. Modern dental procedures tend to be pain-free and require less drilling. This makes patients feel stressed when needing dental care. 

7. Take anti-anxiety medication –You can also ask your doctor to prescribe anti-anxiety medication during your visit. Taking this medicine can help you control symptoms such as heavy sweating, fast heart rate, and restlessness that occur before and during your doctor’s appointment. 

Need Help Treating Dental Anxiety? 

The best thing for patients with dental anxiety is to communicate openly with their dentist.  At Hallock Family Dental we want to provide a welcoming environment for all our patients. Whether you need implants or CEREC Same-day crowns or SureSmile aligners or a complete smile makeover our dentists are ready to provide you with the best treatment plan.  If you are concerned about your dental anxiety, please visit one of our locations or call our Allen location at 972-390-7200 or our McKinney location at 972-547-1775. Our dentists will work with every member of your family to overcome dental anxiety. 


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