Dental anxiety is a term used to refer to a phobia for needles, drills and other apparatus in a dental setup.

Quite a large number of people do not look forward to seeing a dentist. They have this perception that visiting the dentist is only accompanied by excruciating pains; of which, is not correct. Some people will overcome the fear and go ahead for dental appointments. For others, the thought of sitting on the dental chair is terrifying. They are so shaken up about it that they will go to any lengths not to go for their dental visits.

If you are one such person, you are not alone. You could ask your dentist if she or he can help your dental anxiety.


There are many people who will skip dental appointments whether it is a simple or a complex procedure.

There are various tale-and-tell signs that someone is experiencing dental anxiety. Some of them include:-

  • Racing heartbeat or palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Restlessness
  • Visible distress. This can also include crying
  • Using humor or aggression to hide anxiety


There are various ways you can use to overcome dental anxiety without the prescription of over-the-counter anxiety meds.

  • Speak up

This works with every type of anxiety. All anxious people realize that expressing their fears verbally will make a difference. The best thing to do is to tell the dentists that you are anxious. When you talk to the receptionist while booking for an appointment, tell them you are anxious. When you walk into the dental office, remind the dentist and his staff that you are anxious. Speak up on the bad dental experiences you have had if any and ask for their advice on how to cope with it.

Also, ask your dentist all questions you have. Sometimes knowing what is going to happen will help in combating the fear of the unknown.

Agree with your dentist on a hand signal. This should come in handy when you need to take a break in between the dental procedure

Also, do not feel embarrassed about asking for more local anesthetic in case you feel pain.

  • Distract yourself

Distracting yourself may seem like an impossible task but it might be very necessary. You could picture yourself on a beach somewhere relaxing. If that is too much, you could have a stress ball and squeeze it through the whole procedure.

Another option would be to have your earphones and listen to all your favorite songs on your phone.

  • Mindfulness techniques

These are techniques that help your body relax. You could practice breathing techniques to help your muscles relax.

One technique is to breathe slowly. For every inhale, count your breaths then exhale slowly for the same amount of breaths.

Another technique is to do a full body muscle relaxation. Concentrate on relaxing your facial muscles then down to the neck until you get to the toes.

Practicing these simple but crucial strategies will ensure you overcome your fear of dental procedures.