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(02) 93 000 999

Dental Anxiety and Dental Phobia

A fear of visiting the dentist is very common in all ages. It can arise for many different reasons and be triggered by varying elements or embedded within from a past experience as a child or a distressing dental experience.

Dental anxiety is characterised by stress or fear related to when attending the dentist, whereas dental phobia is a form of anxiety which causes an avoidance of dentists and dental appointments. The consequence of delaying dental treatment can cause further health issues that could potentially be more stressful, painful or expensive than what an initial check up would have been.

Dental diseases or dental related issues are for the most part preventable or lifestyle related. Lifestyle factors include diet, oral hygiene routines, general health conditions and frequent drinking and/or smoking. Attending regular biannual appointments can provide you with at home methods of oral hygiene whilst also monitoring your overall oral health in chair and then determine what needs monitoring or future intervention.

Dental anxiety and phobias are nothing to be ashamed of and we are here to help!

dental anxiety
Reasons behind dental phobias or anxiety

The following are common reasons that have aided in developing dental anxiety or phobias.

  • Traumatic experiences in the past from dental or health related procedures
  • Past injuries
  • Underlying trust issues
  • Anxiety, depression and/or PTSD
  • Fear of pain or injections
  • Loss of control or personal space, as dental procedures can be considered quite invasive for some


Techniques and methods of alleviating anxiety and dental phobia

There are many different techniques in place to help overcome and alleviate signs and symptoms of dental anxiety and phobia. The following methods are used within dental clinics to help minimise individual anxiety.

  • Deep breathing and meditation
  • Music or other calming tools
  • Building trust with your dentist and signalling when you are feeling uncomfortable or require a break
  • Weighted blankets or toys
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Distraction tools like shows or movies
  • Find a time of day where you feel most relaxed ie. take the morning off before your appointment, do not come during a stressful period of work
  • In some cases, sedation or anaesthesia may also be required

These methods help lower the patient’s heart rate and blood pressure, whilst shifting focus away from the stimuli that are causing distress. Dental professionals are empathetic and are more than willing to take the appointment to your pace and go the extra mile to ensure you receive the treatment you need in your own time!

Be open to your dentist and dental team about your fear or anxiety to help work together and formulate a plan to move forward. If you haven’t already found a dentist, make sure you spend the time researching and find someone who will genuinely respect your needs and feelings! 

Building rapport and strong relationships with patients is just as important to dentists as their technical ability, they want their patients to feel safe and comfortable. You are always welcome to bring in a support person or consult with your psychologist or general practitioner before the appointment to formulate a plan suitable for your own individual needs.

At Dentist Mandy, we want to help all patients feel comfortable and build confidence in their oral health to reduce the risk of dental diseases that can be easily prevented!