How do dentists deal with nervousness?


Dental Concepts Blog

How do dentists deal with nervousness?

Are you scared of dentists but need treatment? Perhaps you’re still putting off your annual check-up due to dental fear? The truth is dental anxiety is real and many people experience it. Being scared to go to the dentist for checkups and treatment is not uncommon, but the good news is, that reputable and genuine dentists are trained to deal with this. Whether you have light dental anxiety or you have extreme anxiety at the dentist, communication with your dentist will ensure they can help you work through this.

It’s great to understand why you're nervous when visiting the dentist, are you worried because of previous trauma, or maybe horror stories have scared you? Being able to articulate why you’re nervous can help your dentist work through this dental phobia with you.


How can dentists help you to deal with nervousness?
  1. Using the hand-up method. This is a great tool, especially during treatments. Your dentist will ask you to raise your hand if the situation becomes overwhelming or if you need a break. This puts you firmly in control of your own treatment. It’s also a good reminder that you are working with your dentist on your dental phobia together.
  2. Breathing techniques. The use of your breath can be really instrumental in controlling your nerves. Often dentists will be able to give you some tips on how to control your breathing through your fear. Controlling our breathing usually relaxes us a little until we can bring ourselves to a place of comfort.
  3. Allocating some more time to your appointment. For people with dental phobia, taking things slowly can really help. If you do let your dentist know that you’re nervous, they will take things slowly with you and take the time to find out the best way to treat you. Some people like to know everything that’s happening, whilst some people like the updates to be as minimal as possible.
    For example, if you’re scared of dentist injections, you may not want to know exactly when they’re doing it. Dentists usually numb the area before injecting and therefore knowing when it’s coming if you're fearful may make you more tense than necessary. It won’t matter to your dentist what approach you prefer, they just want you to feel comfortable.
  4. Headphones on! Ask anyone, when they want to unwind and relax, they slip on their headphones and listen to their favourite music. There’s no reason why you can’t do this when having dental treatment. If you don’t wish to wear headphones your dentist will either put some music on for you or they’ll have a radio for some light distraction.
  5. For patients that do have extreme dental anxiety at the dentist you may opt for sedation during dental treatments to prevent more anxiety building. Sedation is something that isn’t usually recommended as it complicates the procedure, however, if your dental phobia cannot be managed this is an option for you.

Remember, your dentist is there to help you, not only with your dental needs but also with your dental fears, so make sure you keep communicating! Whether you visit an orthodontist, an endodontist or a paediatric dentist, they will be aware that many people have dental fears and will know how to help you. Having a regular dentist you know and trust will also be a huge asset in preventing you from becoming more nervous at the dentist. If you need a dentist, we recommend checking our recommended dentist page to find your next dentist. You can even do a simple google search for ‘dentist near me ’ or ask friends and family for a recommendation locally.

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