Does going to the dentist’s make you feel uneasy? Do you shudder at the thought of getting dental procedures? If so, you’re not alone.

A lot of people have dental fear and anxiety (DFA). According to WebMD, between 9 percent and 20 percent of Americans don’t get regular dental care due to fear and anxiety. Dental fear remains one of the top reasons why many people skip dental appointments. Over time, lack of dental care can lead to dental problems.

To be able to overcome and deal with dental anxiety, it is important to recognize the cause of your fear. Below let’s check some of the most common causes of dental anxiety and how to deal with each.


Many people associate dental procedures with pain. If dental pain makes you nervous, be sure to discuss it with your dentist. There are different pain management techniques that can be employed. For instance, if you’re afraid of needles and the dentist needs to give you anesthesia, they can administer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to help you relax first. There’s also sedation dentistry for people who have unrelenting fear of the dentist.

The drill

The dentist’s drill causes unpleasant sounds and sensations that trigger fear in some people. If the drill causes your dental anxiety, tell it to your dentist. They will wait for the anesthetic to sufficiently numb the oral cavity before they begin. With sufficient numbing, the pressure and vibration due to drilling won’t be as terrible. You can also wear earphones and listen to some calming music to distract you and help you stay calm.

Previous bad experience

According to an experienced dentist from San Diego, bad experiences with previous dentists are a common cause of apprehension of many patients he’s dealt with. Perhaps the dentist was insensitive, the dental staff was annoying, or the overall service was horrible.

Instead of basking on your past experience, you can look around for a dental clinic that offers better service. Ask recommendations from your family and friends. Read reviews and feedback from previous clients.

Feeling loss of control

Being confined to the dental chair can evoke an uneasy feeling similar to claustrophobia – and a lot of people hate this. If dental appointments make you feel this way, let your dentist know beforehand. You can ask to take a break during the procedure. You can work out cues that will tell the dentist when you need a break such as tapping or raising a hand. This should help assuage your feelings of apprehension.

Fear of sedation

The fear of sedation can come in two ways. Some are afraid that the anesthetic won’t work and that the procedure will be painful. While others worry that sedation can numb them and cause them to lose control. As a result, they might choke, suffocate or become unable to swallow. Confront this fear by constantly reassuring yourself that the dentist is experienced and won’t let anything bad happen.

Final Thoughts

People have unique and completely personal reasons why dental appointments make them feel uneasy. Those discussed above are just five of the most common causes of dental anxiety.

Overcome your dental fears by recognizing them, communicating them with your dentist, and working out ways to gradually decrease your apprehension. Other ways to assuage your fears include bringing a companion during dental appointments, practicing relaxation techniques, using distractions, and rewarding yourself.

Always keep in mind that dental treatments nowadays are far more advanced than before. Reputable and caring dental teams ensure that your dental appointments are more comfortable, reassuring and less fearsome. They can also help you deal with dental fear and anxiety more effectively.