Getting our teeth cleaned is usually not a bucket list item, and getting dental surgery is not a walk in the park, but dental check-ups are necessary to keep our mouths healthy. Not many people look forward to going to the dentist, but many will tolerate it, while about 36% of people in the U.S. fear dental treatment, and 12% have an intense fear of going to the dentist.

Dentophobia, a fear of the dentist, is real, and there are different levels of severity. For example, while one person might have dentophobia because they fear needles, another may be triggered by the drill noises. Other elements of the dental visit a person with dentophobia might fear include:

  • Anesthetics
  • Blood
  • Choking
  • Dentist/Hygenist
  • Pain
  • Smells
Overcome Your Fear of the Dentist


Relieving Fear

Dentophobia starts to affect someone’s life when they fear the dentist so much that they don’t go at all. One may have dentophobia because of a bad childhood experience. Dentistry has come a long way, and most Utah dentists are caring and sympathetic and have techniques for calming nerves and helping to soothe your anxieties.

If you experience fear or concern regarding the dentist, communicate this to your dentist so they can use special techniques to help you feel at ease in the dental chair. Tell yourself that regular dental check-ups will prevent more serious dental procedures, and if you endure those routine check-ups and cleanings, you won’t have to go to the dentist more often than twice a year.

Here are five ways to overcome your dental anxiety at least enough to get you to your necessary dental appointments:

1. Acknowledge Your Fear

When we have extreme fears, it’s essential to recognize them and bravely decide to overcome them. This might take life-long work, but it’ll be worth it. Face your fear head-on. Don’t pretend that it’s not there. Your fears are authentic and valid, but tell yourself that you WANT to overcome your fears and are willing to do some hard work to conquer them.

2. Do Your Dental Research

Knowledge is power, and our fear often stems from our lack of knowledge. Going into an experience blindly is frightening. Doing our research and getting informed can often reduce our anxiety and increase our confidence in an experience, including a dental visit. The more you know, the more control you have over your health. Don’t hesitate to ask your Utah family dentist questions you have about your procedures or even just your routine check-ups. Be informed and know what you are walking into.

3. Choose a Dentist You Trust

Be your own advocate. Choose a dentist that your friends and family say great things about and who has exceptional online reviews. They should also be able to help to calm your nerves, provide detailed care information, and follow all sanitation and safety procedures. Your dentist will play a massive role in helping to alleviate your dental fear. If you choose a crabby dentist counting down the days until retirement, they may make your anxiety worse. Your ideal dental office will be an inviting space that is relaxing, non-frightening, and welcomes emotions. Make sure your dentist prioritizes preventative care and quality treatment as well as the well-being of their patients.

4. Ask Your Dentist About Their Modern Techniques/Technology

Does your dentist keep up with the latest and greatest in dental technology, or are they stuck in the past and resistant to the many advancements in technology? Does your dentist keep a pulse on revolutionary methods and technologies in the dental world?

If your anxiety is terrible, you might benefit from a dentist who can administer local anesthetics and is known for patiently and slowly administering it and waiting for it to go into effect. There are also other techniques that your dentist might use to calm your nerves during a procedure, such as nitrous oxide and oxygen, which you may know as laughing gas. Laughing gas is safe enough to use on women in labor and has no side effects.

5. Involve Yourself

As we mentioned before, be your own advocate and make sure your dentist involves you in all decision-making, as they should. This is YOUR health, and you have the ultimate say in what goes on. Make sure your dentist walks you through processes and shows you problems through oral cameras, ensuring you understand how they intend to solve the problem. The more you focus on your dental health and know what’s happening, the less vulnerable you’ll feel in the dentist’s chair.

Do what you can to reduce your anxiety and increase your comfort level. It may take some time to get to a point where you no longer have panic attacks at the dentist, but slow and steady progress will make all the difference. It’s crucial to have a dentist who genuinely cares about you, takes the time to understand your needs, and fosters a safe and calm environment for you. If your fear has prevented you from attending your dental check-ups, now is the time to make that appointment, and we can help build your confidence. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.