Tips to Overcoming Anxiety when Visiting the Dentist

Tips to Overcoming Anxiety when Visiting the Dentist

There are a variety of reasons why patients are anxious about visiting their dentist.  Some people are concerned about the pain they may experience. Others worry that the appointment may be rushed or their concerns overlooked by the dental staff. The patient may also have some bad memories from negative experiences in the past while visiting a dentist. Avoiding a visit to the dentist due to anxiety will impact your overall oral health care, and may lead to the need for more visits to the dentist.

Trusting and communicating with your dentist is key to overcoming anxiety.

One of the most important ways to overcome anxiety when facing a dental visit is to establish good communication. Make sure your dentist is aware of your fears and will work with you to ease them and make your appointment as relaxing an experience as possible. If you are tense or nervous express those feelings to your dentist so he or she can adapt the treatment to your needs.

Try these additional tips for staying calm during your visit to the dentist.


Focus on breathing regularly and slowly during the dental procedure.

Controlling you breathing can help relax your body and helps preoccupy your thoughts during the dental procedure. The easiest approach is to inhale and exhale slowly through your nose on a count of three (three seconds in and three seconds out).


Listen to music.

To drown out the sound of a dental drill listening to some of your favorite music with earphones may help you relax more and keep your mind off of the procedure.


Watch what you eat before you go to the dentist.

Drinks with caffeine may end up increasing your anxiety, so avoid caffeine before a dental visit.  Foods that are high in protein will help produce a calming effect, rather than sugary foods.


Agree on hand signals you can use to communicate with the dentist.

If you and the dentist have a way to communicate during the procedure if you feel uncomfortable at any point, this may help you stay calm knowing that the dentist can ease up or stop the procedure if warranted.


Choose an appointment time that is least stressful for you.

Schedule your appointment during a time of day when you do not feel rushed or under pressure to be somewhere else.


Sedation may be the preferred option if you have severe anxiety.

For some patients, sedation may be the best option to help overcome severe fear, and keep you coming back on a regular basis. There are a variety of sedation options available, including oral sedation and intravenous sedation.


Dr. Melchers and his staff are here to help address any of your oral health issues and guide your decision on the best course of treatment.  Contact us today at to see how we can best meet your dental care needs.