Easing Dental Anxiety: Coping Methods that Can Help

dental team with a patient

For many people, a visit to the dental clinic is something that they have been putting off for months or even years. There are plenty of reasons why someone might feel this way: fear of pain, fear of the dental clinics themselves, fear of all the equipment used in dental procedures, and more. This anxiety can sometimes lead to avoidance behavior, which can, in turn, lead to more serious dental problems down the road.

If you are someone who experiences dental anxiety, know that you’re not alone. It is estimated that between 9% and 15% of Americans experience some form of dental anxiety. The good news is that there are things you can do to ease your anxiety and make your next dental visit a more positive experience.

Identify the Cause of Your Anxiety

Anxiety can be caused by many different things. If you’re able to identify what specifically is causing your anxiety, you can then begin to work on addressing that issue. For some people, simply thinking about going to the dentist is enough to cause a panic attack. In this case, it’s important to understand that your fear is irrational and that there are steps you can take to ease your anxiety.

There are a number of different coping mechanisms that can help ease dental anxiety.

For some people, the anxiety is so intense that they avoid dental care altogether. This can lead to serious oral health problems down the road. So what can be done to ease dental anxiety?

Here are some coping methods that can help:

1. Talk

Talk to your doctor about your anxiety. Letting them know what makes you anxious can help them take steps to make you more comfortable. For example, if the sound of the drill makes you nervous, they can use a quieter model. Talk to them about what would make you feel more comfortable during your appointment.

2. Distract Yourself

Bring along a book or music player to help take your mind off of what’s happening. Focusing on something else can help ease your anxiety. Distracting yourself can also help if you’re afraid of needles.

3. Breath

Deep breathing can help you relax. It is also a good way to distract yourself from your anxiety. The breathing technique can also help if you’re feeling dizzy or lightheaded.

4. Visualize

Visualizing the doctor as a friend can help ease your anxiety. See them as someone who is there to help you, not hurt you. It can also help to visualize yourself in a relaxed place.

5. Use Numbing Agents

Some numbing agents can be used to help ease pain during dental procedures. Ask your doctor about this option. A numbing agent can help you feel more comfortable and ease your anxiety.

6. Regularly Visits

The more you go, the less anxious you’ll be. It is a good idea to visit a dental clinic every six months to clean and check up. It’s also important to visit a dental clinic if you have any problems with your teeth.

7. Talk to Someone

If you are still struggling with anxiety, talk to someone who can help. There are many resources available to help you cope with your anxiety. Join a support group or see a therapist.

8. Meditate

Meditation can help you relax and focus on the present moment. It is a great way to cope with anxiety. Meditation can be done anywhere and only takes a few minutes.


9. Avoid Caffeine

Caffeine can make anxiety worse. Avoid coffee, tea, and soda before your appointment. Caffeine can make it harder to focus and make you feel more jittery.

10. Get Plenty of Sleep

Getting enough sleep can help you feel more relaxed and less anxious. Sleep deprivation can make anxiety worse. Sleep helps the body and mind recover from stress.

11. Sees a Specialist

If your anxiety is severe, you may need to see a specialist. A specialist can help you identify the cause of your anxiety and develop a treatment plan. If you are struggling to cope with your stress, don’t hesitate to seek help.


Dental anxiety is a common problem, but there are ways to cope with it. Talk to your doctor about your anxiety and let them know what makes you nervous. Distract yourself with a book or music player. And try deep breathing exercises to help you relax. If you are still struggling, talk to someone who can help you cope with your anxiety. Many resources are available to help you manage your anxiety and get the dental care you need.

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