A finger turns wooden blocks from PANIC to CALM for a blog post about easing dental anxiety

How to Overcome Fear of the Dentist

Maybe you had a bad experience at the dentist before, are worried about pain, or feel uneasy about having instruments in your mouth. If you get nervous or feel afraid just at the thought of going to the dentist, you might suffer from dental anxiety or dental fear, called odontophobia. Other signs include sweaty palms, an increased heart rate, or panic attacks before or during a dental treatment.

Dental fear can be so debilitating that it prevents patients from getting their twice annual cleanings and examinations. Over time, this can contribute to the development of serious dental issues.

Here are a few ways you can overcome your fear of the dentist and enjoy positive oral health.

  1. Breathe
  2. Deep breathing can help calm your body’s nervous system and ease your body out of fight-or-flight. Before you enter your dentist’s office, take a few deep belly breaths to calm your mind and body down. From there, you can take slow inhales in, hold them for seven seconds, and then slowly exhale for eight seconds. Repeat the cycle until you feel less anxious.

  3. Bring Someone with You
  4. Bringing a friend or family member for support can help you feel calmer during your treatment.

  5. Tour the Office Before Your Treatment
  6. Going to a new, unfamiliar place can be scary. If it’s your first time visiting a new dental office, contact your dental office beforehand and ask to take a tour of the office. You can also ask if you can chat with your dentist beforehand to get to know them and better understand what will happen during your visit. (Get to know Dr. Friedmann and the Hermitage Dental Group team here!).

  7. Get Sedation
  8. Sedation dentistry involves medication that helps you relax during your dental treatment. From nitrous oxide to IV sedation, there are different types of dental sedation that can help you feel at ease depending on the length and type of your treatment.

Gentle Dentistry in Hermitage, TN

Hermitage Dental Group offers comprehensive dental services in a relaxing atmosphere so that our patients can obtain the treatments they need to maintain healthy smiles. We hope to make your visit with us as stress-free as possible! Contact us to learn more about our office, treatments, flexible financial options, and sedation dentistry.


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