How to Overcome Dental Anxiety and Get the Care You Need

Do dental drills give you the chills? Perhaps you had a bad experience at a previous dental office, are embarrassed about your oral health or just tend to get anxious.

Regular visits to the dentist’s office are necessary to keep your gums and teeth in good shape. It is a way to help improve your overall health and give you a reason to smile. You can calm your nerves and realize the dentist is not a scary place. How exactly can you overcome dental anxiety?

A woman sitting close to a man in a bathroom while he brushes his teeth. She's comforting him because he has anxiety about visiting the dentist.

Ways to Get the Care You Need and Lose the Anxiousness

Did you know that approximately 45% of adults have dental anxiety? You are not alone in your fear but over time and with a few easy-to-follow tips, you can get through your anxiety.

Prepare Yourself

Dental anxiousness often stems from uncertainty of what is about to happen at the dentist. This can be solved by informing yourself of the treatment method. It is helpful to research the treatment you are getting done ahead of time. Ask your dentist for a detailed description of what to expect. This will help calm your nerves by removing the imaginary blindfold and having a clear vision of the procedure.

Calming Techniques

Try listening to music that calms your mind during your dental treatment. It can distract you from the procedure itself, making you feel happy and at ease. You might even try to meditate or do yoga before your dental appointment. This can calm your mind and body. Another great option is to bring a stress ball with you to squeeze while in the dentist’s chair. This will allow you to release those pent-up emotions.

Bring Someone with You

Do you have a close friend or family member that will come to the dentist with you? Having a loved one by your side may relieve you of your anxiety entirely. You can chat with them (when nothing is in your mouth, that is ;)), look to them for support and just feel comforted knowing they are there. A gentle hand squeeze can do wonders for quieting your thoughts.

Have A Signal

Speak with your dentist ahead of time to agree on a signal to pause the treatment. A simple raise of your hand lets them know you need a breather. Sometimes all you need is a little time to relax in between dental steps to feel calm. Just knowing you are in control can even be all you need to feel at ease in the dentist’s chair. Preventing dental anxiety is all about mind over matter.


If you want an extra bit of calm, speak with your dentist about sedation dentistry to see if it can work for you. With the use of trusted professional medication, you can get into a relaxed state. It is easier for the dentist to work on your teeth when you are wiggle free.

There are three types of sedation. Your dentist will select an option depending on the treatment being performed and your level of dental anxiety.

Before deciding on the type of sedation, your dentist in Calgary will speak with you about your medical and dental history. It is important for your dentist to have complete knowledge of any medications or supplements you are taking to avoid any possible negative side effects or interactions.

Why It’s Important to Overcome Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety can cause negative effects, so it is important to face your fear and begin finding ways to overcome it. When you let your anxiety take control of you, you can be left with:

  1. Poor oral health – Dental anxiety can cause you to avoid going to the dentist or delay your visits. Poor oral health due to missing cleanings or oral health checks can lead to untreated cavities, bad breath, and loss of teeth.
  2. Costly Dental Visits – Waiting longer than the recommended time to see a dentist could increase the costs to fix your oral health problems. Procrastination can turn a minor problem into a large one. You may even need emergency dental.
  3. Poor overall health – Negative oral health can lead to general health problems including heart problems and respiratory issues. This can increase your stress and intensify your anxiety and fear.


It is important to let your dentist know if you have dental anxiety so they can personalize treatments for you. Communicating your fears and following one or some of the tips above will help give you the courage you need to overcome dental anxiety. Glenbrook Dental is a safe space for you to feel comfortable while getting the treatment you need. Ask us if you have any questions about treatment options to maintain a healthy and beautiful smile. We are here to help.

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Please contact us if you have any questions. We’re happy to help whether or not you’re an existing patient.