Dental Anxiety – What Causes It & How to Overcome The Negative Thoughts

BY Dr. McDowell  |  April 21st, 2021
Dr. McDowell
Dr. McDowell has always been focused on using the latest technology to improve the patient experience. From radiation-free imaging to laser dentistry, he has always been ahead of the curve and is dedicated to improving the practice of dentistry one ..

Dental anxiety really does keep some of our patients up at night. We do our best not to take it personally because there are many different reasons why someone might feel anxious about going to the dentist. Nonetheless, we want our patients to have confidence when they come to the dentist. There’s no reason that you need to be scared to take care of your teeth.

Today we’re sharing some of the leading causes of anxiety at the dentist and how to overcome dental anxiety with a handful of helpful tips from our dentists.

Causes of Dental Anxiety

Several different factors can play into someone’s fear of the dentist. One thing to acknowledge right away is that dental phobia or dentophobia is a real problem for many different people, young and old. Someone that struggles with a dental phobia has an unexplainable fear of the dentist and the procedures received when visiting the dentist.

While almost all fears can be overcome, it’s not always something that someone who has a severe dental phobia can escape completely. In some cases, they can get better at controlling their fear but cannot fully overcome their fear.

In general, most people who fear the dentist aren’t because they have dental phobia but fear a painful experience at the dentist.

Dental Anxiety for Kids

Kids will often experience a fear of the dentist, especially as they visit them for the first few times. There’s a lot of loud noises in an unfamiliar place along with new smells and new people.

These fears of first-time experiences will be different for every child based on how old they are and their personality. One thing that you can do to help your kids have a better first-time experience at the dentist is to be with them the entire time.

how to overcome dental anxiety smiling girl

Dental professionals will wear lots of personal protective equipment to ensure that there isn’t any passing of germs from you to them or vice versa. To a child, it might be frightening to see someone dressed in all kinds of different outfits, especially if they can’t see the face of the person that wants to peak into their mouth.

How to Overcome Dental Anxiety for Kids

One great way to help kids overcome some of their dental fears is to reward them on the day that they visit the dental office. There are quite a few different ways that you could choose to reward them, but here are a few different ideas:

Each of these is a great idea, but we like to lean towards an idea that helps them to develop good dental habits. That’s why a lot of dental offices will give kids a free goody bag of dental products. Be sure to limit how much sugar you choose to reward your child with because the sugar will just undo what’s already been done at the dentist.

Dental Anxiety for Adults

Adults also struggle with anxiety and fear around visiting the dentist. Most kids who aren’t able to overcome their dental fear will grow into adults who also have dental fear and dental anxiety. Some large contributing factors lead to adults having dental anxiety. Here are some of those leading causes.

Pain in Dentistry

Pain is by far the leading cause and reason most people are afraid of the dentist and dental treatment. And it’s true; the dentist can be painful, especially if the hygenist or dental professional performing the work on your teeth doesn’t have a lot of experience. One way to have a pain-free dental experience is by visiting a dental office that practices laser dentistry.


how to overcome dental anxiety novocaine shot

Novocaine injections have quite a few downsides. First is the pain of getting an injection, then there are the tastes and finally is the hours and hours that it takes for the numb feeling to wear off. Sadly most dental offices don’t offer many other solutions to Novocaine injections.

Fear of the Unknown

Last on our list of fears surrounding a visit to the dentist is the fear of the unknown. If you haven’t been to the dentist very often or if you’re going to a new dentist for the first time, the entire experience can be overwhelming. Finding a dentist that has a good website and that explains their processes well is a great way to get informed and get to know your dentist before you visit them.

Laser Dentistry

You may not have heard, but laser dentistry is a state-of-the-art technology that is helping dental patients have pain-free dental experiences time and time again. Laser dentistry technology is all that we use at Wayzata Dental to help ensure that our patients always have a positive experience when they visit us.

Because dental professionals can be much more precise when using laser tools in dentistry can help to ensure that the patient experiences less pain. In a lot of cases, laser dentistry will remove the need for Novocaine because there’s little to no pain felt by the patient. Here’s a list of the benefits of laser dentistry, be sure to read the blog post for more information on each benefit.

As you can see, there’s definitely a big advantage to choosing laser dentistry, even if you don’t experience fear around going to the dentist. Visit Wayzata Dental to give laser dentistry a try.

patient overcoming dental anxiety during laser treatment

The Importance of Dental Care

Dental care is extremely important, and you probably don’t need anyone to tell you that there are numerous benefits to visiting the dentist regularly. But, if you did, then we’re here to tell you that neglecting going to the dentist will likely cause serious problems for the health of your mouth. Dental treatment can ensure that even your lungs stay healthy and that you aren’t letting any harmful bacteria into your body through poor oral hygiene.

If you’d like to experience pain-free dentistry, then be sure to reach out to Wayzata Dental today. We’d love to hear from you ad get an appointment scheduled.

Dr. McDowell
Dr. McDowell has always been focused on using the latest technology to improve the patient experience. From radiation-free imaging to laser dentistry, he has always been ahead of the curve and is dedicated to improving the practice of dentistry one ..