Dental Anxiety

How to Overcome Dental Anxiety Before Your Dental Visit?

Are you feeling nervous about your upcoming dental visit? You’re not alone. Dental anxiety is a common concern among Australians. In fact, dental fear and anxiety affect about 16% of adults and 10% of children in Australia. Although not life-threatening, this form of anxiety can seriously impact your oral health as it prevents you from seeking the necessary dental care.

At Munno Para Dental Clinic, we have seen many patients with dental anxiety in more than 25 years of our practice. We understand the struggles faced by patients suffering from this condition. We always try to provide our patients with all possible dental anxiety help they need. Fortunately, there are ways to cope with your anxiety and get the dental care you deserve.

Let’s help you understand dental anxiety, its signs, and how you can overcome it.

What Are the Signs of Dental Anxiety?

Put simply, dental anxiety is the fear or stress you experience in a dental clinic or when getting dental treatment. It can manifest in various ways. For instance, some people may experience sleepless nights before a dental visit, while others might show physical symptoms like nausea and increased heart rate. Some people also show visible distress, such as crying, or children, for example, can throw tantrums. Ignoring these signs can lead to deteriorating oral health and a cycle of dental issues.

Understand The Impact of Dental Anxiety on Your Oral Health

As you can imagine, routine dental exams and cleanings and X-rays can help prevent dental health issues. It can help your dentist detect potential problems before they turn into an emergency. Regular dental visits allow for simple and less invasive treatments.

These check-ups are also critical for the early identification of oral cancer, particularly vital for smokers or frequent alcohol consumers. Unfortunately, dental anxiety prevents you from getting preventive dental care. And when you miss your appointments regularly, minor dental issues soon become complex oral health problems.

That’s why you must find ways to cope with your dental anxiety.

How to Overcome Your Dental Anxiety

As mentioned, there are ways to overcome your dental fear. Here’s what you can do:

1. Accept Your Anxiety

Accepting your anxiety is the first crucial step in overcoming it. Most people tend to brush their fears off using humour or aggression. Does this sound like you? If yes, recognizing that many people face this issue may help you feel less isolated.

Also, know that your dental anxiety doesn’t define you or your ability to take care of your oral health. Instead, it helps you find coping strategies when you accept your fears. This acceptance allows you to communicate more openly with your dental care provider about your feelings, which is the next step in getting dental anxiety help.

2. Speak Up About Your Fear

You can’t get help for dental anxiety if you don’t speak up about it. Besides your family, your dentist needs to know about your fears. Talking to your dentist about your anxiety allows them to understand your situation and adapt their approach to ensure your comfort. That’s one of the reasons why we encourage open discussions about anxiety at our dental clinic. It allows us to make your dental visit as comfortable as possible.

3. Use a Signal to Pause Your Treatment

Even with help, you can’t blast dental anxiety out of your life in a day. The process will take time. But you don’t have to stop your treatment until you completely overcome your fears.

Most people feel anxious in a dental clinic because they can’t talk or move once the procedure is underway. This feeling of helplessness can trigger your anxiety. However, feeling in control can help alleviate your dental anxiety. That’s why we encourage our patients to agree on a signal to pause the treatment.

For example, you can raise your right or left hand when you feel uncomfortable. This reassures you that you can stop the procedure at any time. Try this simple trick on your next dental visit.

4. Bring a Distraction with You

Distractions can significantly reduce your anxiety levels. You can bring headphones to listen to your favourite music or a podcast during the treatment. Or else, you can bring a stress ball or your favourite stuffed animal (kids love this idea) with you. It can help shift your focus away from the procedure. That, in turn, would help cope with your fears.

5. Practice Deep Breathing Before Your Treatment

Most people are overwhelmed with anxiety as soon as they step into a dental clinic. That’s normal. But while sitting in the waiting room, try a few deep breathing exercises. These simple exercises are a powerful tool for managing anxiety. You can also practice slow and deep breaths during your dental visit to help calm your nerves and reduce stress.

6. Try Anxiety-Relieving Medication

For those with severe dental anxiety, discussing anxiety-relieving medication with your dentist or doctor can be a helpful option. However, think of this as a final resort to alleviate your anxiety. It’s best if you can cope with your dental fears using any of the methods listed above.


Dental fear is very common and affects about one in every ten adults in Australia. But it’s possible to overcome your fears. It’s the only way to ensure your oral health is not compromised. These strategies can make your dental visits more relaxed and anxiety-free.

If you or someone you know struggles with dental anxiety, we’re here to help. Contact us to discuss how we can make your dental visit a positive experience.