dental anxiety

Overcoming Dental Anxiety

dental anxiety

According to a study at Harvard University, 85% of the population has no dental anxiety issues at all. But what about the remaining 15%? At Lifetime Family Dental, we know that dental phobia is a real thing. But there are several factors surrounding a visit to the dentist that can trigger a fear response. Here are some of the most common triggers, and some suggestions for overcoming dental anxiety.

Past experiences

For those whose first dental visits came before high speed drills and the use of sedation, many can remember the sound of grinding as the drill tore at the enamel to get to the root of the cavity. It was not a pleasant experience! The drill mechanism was huge, noisy and downright scary, like a machine out of some dystopian sci-fi movie. And if the drill met the root of the tooth, it felt like an electric current was stopping your heart and melting your brain at the same time. It’s no wonder that many people of a certain age are reluctant to schedule a dental visit.

If you are one of those folks, fear not! Be comforted by the fact that most dentistry can be pain-free and without trauma. Modern technology has made dentistry feel much less invasive and frightening. One solution to dealing with anxiety over past experiences is to talk to the staff. Explain your experience and why you have avoided coming to the dentist. At Lifetime Family Dental, we are here to help you, not hurt you. When we know what has triggered you in the past, we can work toward a solution that will put you at ease. Some of our patients request sedation—we just need to know ahead of time so we (and you) can be prepared!

Pain avoidance

Fear is also an issue with some patients who have an elevated sensitivity to pain. Even the fear of needles can trigger anxiety. Nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas, can calm you down before the pin prick of a pain killing injection. And again, mild sedation is also an option for most people. But you will need a designated driver to take you home!


Some patients feel a loss of control when they are lying in a dental chair. It can feel like you are being held down against your will. “Helpless” is another way some patients have described the inability to communicate when their mouth is full of cotton or equipment.

Being told to open wider when the corners of your mouth are already being ripped open is another trigger that can bring on anxiety. This is usually due to a tense mandibular joint, and nitrous oxide can help here, as well. Your communication beforehand is so valuable for us to know what you have experienced in the past. Please don’t be afraid to tell us. At Lifetime Family Dental, we understand your anxiety and want to help you have a positive experience.

Dental shame

Some patients are ashamed to admit that their dental health and hygiene are not where they would like them to be. They avoid scheduling appointments because they fear they will be judged. You may feel bad that you don’t have a Hollywood smile; maybe you’ve lost a few teeth along the way; perhaps it’s been a number of years since your last cleaning.

Don’t be ashamed: we won’t judge you! We are happy that you have made an appointment because we can help you. From preventative care to restorative dentistry to cosmetic dentistry, Lifetime Family Dental can help bring you the smile you have always wanted. So instead of procrastinating out of embarrassment, please know that we welcome the opportunity to serve you and help you achieve the smile of your dreams.


We realize that not everyone has dental coverage included with their health insurance. This should not prevent you from seeking regular dental cleanings and checkups, or even scheduling more extensive dental work. We know that dentistry is expensive. But don’t fear! We have flexible payment plans that can alleviate stress and make it possible for your entire family to enjoy great dental health. Call us for an appointment and ask about your payment options. You may be surprised at what we can do to accommodate your financial situation.


We’re here to help!

Overcoming dental anxiety is high on our list of helping people to gain and maintain excellent oral health. Remember that we are here for you, and that you need to tell us what fears you have so we can help you put them aside for good. Lifetime Family Dental serves Gilbert, Chandler and the surrounding area. We look forward to working with you!



Images used under creative commons license (Commerical Use) 03/12/2020 Image by PixEasy from Pixabay