woman nervous about dental treatment while sitting in dental office


From the fear of heights and flying to needles and the dentist’s office, everyone has their own anxieties to deal with. Whether it’s the sterile smell, the buzzing sound of the drill, or the bright white lights, going to the dentist can be incredibly stress-inducing. The way dentists are portrayed in the entertainment industry surely doesn’t help ease any anxiety surrounding your visit to the dentist. In fact, it might even be the cause of these fears.


No matter your level of dental anxiety, this blog post aims to help you learn more about the potential sources of and treatments for this condition. At Yazdani Family Dentistry, we want to help you feel more relaxed in our clinic and chair. This is especially important as avoiding regular check-ups can lead to worsening dental health outcomes and conditions. So, let us help you take care of your smile and reduce your fears!


What is Dental Anxiety?


Dental anxiety is quite common and can affect anyone. It’s broadly described as the feeling of fear and stress associated with being in a dental setting. If you ever get nervous about going to the dentist, you’re not alone. About 36% of the general population experiences dentophobia and feels anxious before their dentist visit. Some individuals even avoid the whole ordeal completely, never attending scheduled check-ups.


These fears can put individuals at risk of developing dental problems that may require more severe procedures because they are not up-to-date on preventative maintenance like cleanings and exams.


There are a handful of factors that can trigger dental anxiety. Factors like needles, the sound of the dental equipment, and feeling like you’re not in control may cause you to feel uneasy and uncomfortable. Openly speaking about your fears and communicating your feelings to your dentist will help their dental team accommodate you to make you feel as relaxed as possible.

Types of Dental Anxiety


Dental anxiety can go beyond just a fear of needles or drills. Here are some noted types of dental anxiety we have heard from our patients:


Signs and Symptoms of Dental Anxiety


Each person reacts differently in both a physical and mental way when they’re under stress. Whether we’re worried or anxious, we all exhibit some of the following symptoms, especially when it comes to dental anxiety:


young boy worried about being at the dentist




These symptoms might not necessarily appear every time you visit the dentist. Each feeling you get will depend on what has triggered the anxiety and how well you’re able to manage it.

Healthily Coping and Managing Your Dental Anxiety


Dental anxiety can affect people of all ages, but it shouldn’t control your life. Learning the right coping strategies will help you deal with your stress and have a successful next visit. From communicating your concerns with your dentist to practicing relaxation techniques, there’s a multitude of options to help you cope with your dental anxiety.

Treatment Options for Dental Anxiety


The correct treatment plan for your dental anxiety will vary depending on the source of your fears. However, there are plenty of courses of action to take that will be helpful to the majority of people who experience dental anxiety.

woman smiling before getting dental checkup

Open Communication


Communicating the source of your anxiety with your dentist is key. Letting them know what concerns you have, whether they’re general to the experience or specific to certain procedures, will help them understand how to help you best and make particular recommendations. They can talk you through the steps of any procedures or what will happen during the appointment so that you know exactly what to expect. 

Meditation Techniques


Practicing relaxation and meditation techniques before your appointment can also help. Breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization techniques can all help lessen anxiety before and during your appointment. Using noise-cancelling headphones can also help if the sounds of dental instruments cause stress and can provide a relaxing soundscape to aid in visualization. 

Sedation Dentistry


There is also the option of sedation dentistry, though not all dentists will offer it. Within sedation dentistry, there are different options, from using nitrous oxide to oral conscious sedation to IV sedation. They can have effects ranging from lessening anxiety to keeping you unconscious throughout the procedure. 


If you choose sedation dentistry for your appointment, you will likely need someone with you to drive you home afterward. Depending on the type of sedation, you may need to take the following day off from work or school and should discuss specific safety and recovery needs with your dentist.


Impact on Oral Health


Attending regular dentist appointments provides more benefits than just a deep clean. During your regular visits, your dentist can spot potential issues early and either prevent them from worsening or treat them on a smaller scale. A small cavity can be easily treated, but if left untreated, it can lead to tooth and bone loss. Early signs of gum disease can also be spotted at a check-up, allowing you to get ahead of the problem and prevent infection.


The mouth-body connection means that issues in your mouth can spread throughout your body, worsening existing health conditions. By avoiding seeing your dentist and receiving treatment for dental issues, you may end up impacting your overall health, causing problems that will be harder to treat.

Cost Considerations


While dental healthcare can be expensive, attending regular checkups is much more affordable than the work required to treat cavities and gum disease. Treating oral health issues may require multiple visits within a few months, along with the costs of the treatments. In contrast, regular checkups only occur once or twice a year and are generally a set fee. 


If you experience dental anxiety, you can discuss a plan with your dentist to work up to the recommendation of having an appointment every six months. 

Choosing a Dentist Who Understands Anxiety


Ensuring that your dentist understands who you are as a person, in addition to potential fears and concerns, is important to help overcome dental anxiety. By validating your experience and helping find solutions, you can feel confident that they understand your concerns and are taking them seriously. 


Look for dentists who:



Examining online reviews from other patients can also give you an idea about the dentist’s reputation and help you build trust—even before the first appointment.


Researching dentists who provide sedation dentistry can also help. Even if you aren’t sure if that is the best option for you, having the service available can make a difference. After all, it demonstrates that the dentist understands dental anxiety and is prepared to help you get the dental healthcare that you require and deserve.

A Superior Dental Experience At Yazdani Dental Clinic


Regular dental visits are essential in maintaining your oral health. Although dental anxiety and stress can come in the way of doing so, it’s critical to explore your options to overcome this so your fears don’t prevent you from attending regular check-ups, cleanings, and other necessary appointments.


Our dental staff at Yazdani Family Dentistry strive to create a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere for all of our patients. Please don’t hesitate to let us know how we can help make your experience as pleasant and calming as possible.


Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help with your dental anxiety and book your next appointment with confidence.

Dr. Shahrooz Yazdani

Dr. Shahrooz Yazdani

Dr. Shahrooz Yazdani has helped to restore the smiles and self-confidence of countless clients since opening Yazdani Family Dentistry in 2001. As CEO and Director, he has amassed thousands of hours of comprehensive training and real-world experience in his decades-long tenure. Dr. Yazdani is deeply passionate about his work, family, and making the most of life itself.