5 Methods for Overcoming Dental Anxiety

Going to the dentist doesn’t have to feel like pulling teeth!

Up to 40 million Americans avoid seeing a dentist because of anxiety… and that is 40 million too many!

Dentophobia (yes, there is an official term for it!) is a real and crippling fear that can send you into a downward spiral. After all, if you avoid going to the dentist, it is only more likely that you will need even more dental care in the future.  Cavities don’t heal themselves! Therefore, it is time to bite the bullet (gently please) and overcome dental anxiety. 

The first thing to know on the road of overcoming dental anxiety is that 

You Are Not Alone!  Many people have the same fears, and at Smile Sensations Dental we go out of our way to address your anxieties and ensure a safe and peaceful visit. We have seen individuals of all ages that fear that fateful appointment, and so we have years of experience in communicating with you to address how to calm those worries ahead of any dental appointment when any stressful work is planned.   If possible, just be sure and talk to your dentist before that appointment date so plans will be in place. 

Here are the top five tips we have for individuals experiencing dental anxiety and how to feel comfortable during your visit!

How To Beat Dentophobia!

Talk to your dentist: 

First and foremost, find a dentist with whom you feel comfortable discussing your fears and concerns. If a dentist is worth their weight, this won’t be the first time, or the last, that they encounter dentophobia, and they should be able to offer you counsel on how to best alleviate your fears.  Keep the lines of communication open, and if you don’t feel that you are being heard, it is time to find a new doc. 

Find a dental office with Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas):

Nitrous Oxide is a great option for those that feel they need a little extra help feeling comfortable in the dentist’s chair.  

Your dentist has seen thousands of patients with anxieties just like you, like we have in our practice, have a discussion about the benefits of getting dental work with nitrous oxide.  It is an odorless and tasteless gas administered through a nose mask that will calm you for the length of your procedure without any long-term effects.  And as soon as you remove the mask, you will be back to normal so you do not need a driver to take you home.  In fact, you can immediately go back to work if you want!  

When it comes to Nitrous Oxide, maybe you’ll need it, maybe you won’t.  But at least at Smile Sensations Dental, while it’s best to have it planned in advance, it’s available in a few minutes, if during an appointment you feel that you need extra help getting through the procedure and not being so stressed out.   

Plan out Hand signals: 

Many individuals report feeling anxiety at the dentist because until they learn otherwise at certain times during appointments they feel as if they have little control. 

When you think about it, until you get to know your dentist better, it’s like having a relative stranger hover over you for a prolonged period of time with a feeling of not being able to quickly communicate, and for some that can be pretty frightening! Discuss with your dentist a series of hand signals you can use to communicate during your procedure if you are experiencing discomfort and need them to be more gentle, need a break, or are doing A-okay.  Having control over your procedure could be a big help!


Play music or listen to a podcast during your dental procedure. It might also help you to have something in your hands to fiddle with, like a stress ball or Fidget Spinner, to get your mind off of your fears. 


Those who can achieve a “zoned out” state of mind “at will” have a proven method at their disposal to overcome feelings of anxiety.  Practice makes perfect, so practice this away from the dental office so you have one more method of combating your dental fears when you need it.

It’s OK to say “wait” or “no”: 

Knowing that you have the right to delay or even say no to a procedure, to take breaks or even stop the procedure entirely should be of some comfort. Talking about all your options in advance with your dentist can go a long way in giving you control over your anxiety.  Work with your dental care provider to find a method of dental care that works for you. 

We’re All On The Same Side:  

It’s even in the interest of the dentist that you are calm and do well since the work gets done sooner. That’s what you want, too.  We really are all on the same side!  

At Smile Sensations Dental, we understand the ins and outs of dentophobia and are ready to work with you to find a treatment plan that will ease your anxieties and keep your teeth in tip-top shape. 

To schedule an appointment contact us today at 336-768-3474, and visit our webpage at SmileSensationsDental.com.