4 Ways to Manage Your Dental Anxiety

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Dental anxiety can cause people to avoid getting dental treatments leading to increased dental pains and costly procedures. Dental fears, also known as odontophobia, can trigger severe anxiety and panic attacks before and during dental procedures.

However, compromising on dental work can result in poor oral health impacting your mental health. To overcome dental anxiety, understanding where they stem from and how they can be controlled is key.

Read ahead to learn how you can cope with dental anxiety while maintaining healthy gums and teeth.

Talk To Your Dentist

Speaking with your dentist about your fear is the first step to addressing your dental anxiety. When scheduling your dentist appointment, make sure to inform the receptionist and dentist about your dental anxiety. Talk to your dentist about the specific fears you have and previous traumatic experiences that triggered your anxiety.

Remind your dentist about your anxiety every time you schedule a procedure and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Sometimes, knowing about the procedure from before can help lower anxiety levels.

If you have a low tolerance for pain, tell your dentist so they can administer local anesthesia accordingly. Agree on a hand gesture with your dentist if the pain gets too much during your procedure.

Find A Distraction

Direct your thoughts away from the procedure can help you manage your fear. Although it may seem impossible when you’re frightened of dental work, distractions can take your mind off the pain.

Take your headphones along and listen to music if the sound of the drill scares you. For many, even the silence during a basic check-up can be triggering. Listening to music or podcasts can help direct your thoughts away and lower your anxiety.

Keep a stress ball in hand and squeeze every time you feel pain. Ask your dentist to place something on the ceiling for you to look at and focus on. Wear a mist to distract yourself from the dental office smell. This way you can imagine yourself in a different setting when you close your eyes.

Practice Mindfulness

Woman in gray top wearing white headphones

Relax your mind and body to focus on your breathing. As you wait for your procedure to begin, inhale and exhale slowly.

Count your breaths and hold for at least 5 seconds before you breathe out. Stretch your body and flex your neck muscles. Release the tension in your face, forehead and mouth by practicing a few facial exercises.

Practicing mindfulness will help you control your thoughts and stay calm.


If you have extreme anxiety and are not able to overcome it, medication might be the most suitable option for you. You can reduce your anxiety through different sedation levels according to the extent of your procedure.

For more complex and invasive procedures, your dentist might give you general anesthesia to put you in deep sleep. For simpler dental work, you might be prescribed medication to take before your procedure. Your dentist may also give you laughing gas (N2O) if you need it.

If you require extra time to relax during your procedure, you needn’t worry about being charged for it. Rapha Dental offers their general dentistry New Jersey at affordable rates.

At Rapha Dental, we care about your oral and mental health. Don’t let your fears overcome you.  Schedule an appointment with some of the best dentists in Cinnaminson NJ and let us take care of your radiant smile!