Franck Dental Blog

All About Dental Anxiety

Jan 17, 2023

Many people experience anxiety about going to the dentist and all that an appointment entails. You are not alone.  

While many experience it, there are steps you can take to help manage and work through it.  

What is Dental Anxiety? 

Dental anxiety is the fear, anxiety or stress that is partnered with trips to a dental setting. Oftentimes, patients who are experiencing dental anxiety will avoid their dental treatment in efforts to escape the anxiety associated with it. 

Signs & Symptoms:  

Racing heartbeat or palpitations

Occurrence of low blood pressure, possibly leading to fainting

Internal or visible distress, signs of panic

Sweating and nervous behavior such as excessive humor or aggression

Avoiding the dentist office at all costs

Your Oral Health & Dental Anxiety  

When dental anxiety has its grips on our psyche, we are more opt to avoid the dentist, resulting in dental disease. As avoidance worsens, so can the dental diseases severity. This welcomes what is known as the ‘vicious cycle of dental anxiety’. We feel the growing need of dental care, we feel our fear increasing and we stay stuck in a state of paralysis by over analyzing the situation. So then – we are in need of dental care, yet avoiding dental care. Not a good place to be in. 

We know that our regular dental cleanings, X-rays, and check-ups work to prevent disease and issues early on. The goal is to conduct less invasive treatments early on, rather than more invasive treatments down the road. 

The good news is that most dental diseases are caused by lifestyle choices, and can be prevented. It is the goal of the dentist to help you prevent diseases and help you understand how to care for your teeth; so that you avoid dental disease all together! This is why preventative appointments are so important. 

So now that we better understand the obstacle, and the need to overcome the obstacle … 

Let’s get you to the dentist!  

Ways to manage dental anxiety 

People manage anxiety in many ways. Letting the dentist know that you experience dental anxiety can be very crucial. Creating a space of open dialogue about the subject can help identify triggers, and help the dentist develop a plan in managing your anxiety. Be honest about your anxiety, you are not alone. 

Here are some common techniques to help combat anxiety: 

Deep breathing practices to control your breath

Play soothing music

Mentally prepare ahead

Practice grounding techniques

Switch your focus: listening to music, devices, gadgets

Meditation & Mindfulness exercises

Bringing a loved one/friend with you as company

Progressive muscle relaxation

Yoga & stretching

Reducing caffeine, alcohol & nicotine

Exercise beforehand

Psychotherapy or self-hypnosis

Other steps:

There are other known treatment methods. A few options are Relative analgesia (happy gas), anxiety relieving medication, conscious sedation and general anesthesia.

Talking to your dentist is an amazing first step to take in combating dental anxiety. By talking about your struggles out loud, you take the first step in overcoming. 

Being honest, open, and educate yourself on what you are going through. This opens the door to amazing healing and overcoming. Knowing is half the battle. 

Remember: You are not alone in this. We are here for you! 

The information on this Blog is provided for general information, is not intended to provide medical, dental or surgical advice, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. No dentist/patient relationship is established by your use of this Site. No diagnosis or treatment is being provided. The information contained here should be used in consultation with a dentist of your choice. No guarantees or warranties are made regarding any of the information contained within this Blog.

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C. Christian Franck, DDS

721 East Baltimore Pike Suite 301
Kennett Square, PA 19348