How to cope with dental anxiety

The thought of sitting in the dentist’s chair can upset adults and children alike. The idea of needles being stuck into your gums and drills moving through your teeth can cause anyone anxiety. But normalising the experience of going to the dentist is important, so that you aren’t demotivated to get check-ups. Your dental health is very important.

That’s why we suggest several steps to ease your anxiety before biting the bullet and seeing your dentist.

Choose a dentist you trust

On an insurance plan like Affinity Dental, you have the luxury of choosing from a vast network of checked and vetted physicians. When you have your initial visit, ask the dentist as many questions as you need in order to make yourself comfortable. You will be with this dentist for the foreseeable future, so it is good to have an open relationship about procedures and needs.

Explain your fears to the dentist and allow him or her to debunk them with professional facts. Often we fear the unknown part of a procedure, so it could be helpful to have your dentist explain everything in detail.


Do your own research

If you are due for procedure that you haven’t had before, do some research on what you can expect when you get into the dentist’s chair. If you’re going to be sedated, research the affects you might feel, in order to ease your nerves.


Do not worry about being in pain during your procedure. Anaesthetics and numbing gels are now available for most treatments. This means it’s not likely to be a painful experience. Speak to the dentist about all your options for pain management. If you feel it necessary, ask for a prescription of over the counter pain killers for after the procedure, just in case you need them.

Fear of Sedation

Fears about being sedated fall into two categories, explains Dr Steven Lin on his namesake blog.

“Some people fear they will be too awake and aware of the pain. They worry that their teeth and gums won’t be numb enough and they’ll be in pain.

“Others fear being numb as they feel they will be out of control. This can lead to fears that they will suffocate, choke or be unable to swallow.

“It’s important to realise that for top teeth, only an individual tooth will be numbed. For bottom teeth, sometimes your tongue or cheek may feel swollen when numbed, but they won’t be. You lose sensation in these areas but not function.”

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