Do You Feel Anxious When It’s Time to See a Dentist?


Do you suffer from dental anxiety? Many people do. They avoid getting a dental exam because even thinking about it makes them anxious. For some, previous negative or painful experiences with dental procedures are understandably the cause. Times have changed. New procedures and products reduce pain and make dental treatments more comfortable. It no longer makes sense to postpone necessary dental care.

If you do suffer from dental anxiety, tell your dentist. You should expect to feel comfortable, and a discussion of any fears or anxiety will help. Your dentist wants to find the best way to make you feel comfortable and achieve oral health.

Dental Anxiety is Common

Many people feel some degree of dental anxiety while visiting the dentist. In some extreme cases, fear of the dentist is so strong that they avoid dental care even when they have serious problems. They may even suffer for years with gum infections, pain, or even broken and unappealing teeth. There are many reasons for dental anxiety:

  • Fear of pain. A common reason for avoiding the dentist comes from an individual’s expectations or stories shared by friends and family.
  • Negative history. Uncomfortable or bad experiences from a particular dentist or a previous dental procedure.
  • Personal space. Dental treatments require physical closeness to the dentist or hygienist that may make some people feel uncomfortable.
  • Embarrassment. If you are self-conscious about the condition of your teeth and mouth, you may want to avoid a dental exam.

Dental Procedures Have Changed

Today, dentists are trained to focus much more on patient comfort. Patient care has benefited greatly from the new tools that allow the modern dentist to perform most procedures with little or no pain. Many patients who approach dental treatment with anxiety are surprised by just how painless and easy treatment can be.

Dentists have many medications or products that can reduce and eliminate pain.

  • Topical anesthetic gels and dental patches used to numb gums keep patients comfortable during injections and deep cleanings.
  • Thinner needles are now used to inject numbing agents.
  • A local anesthetic that eliminates pain is commonly used for procedures like a root canal or a wisdom tooth extraction.
  • Sedation dentistry allows dental treatments to be performed under partial or full loss of consciousness.

Contact your dentist and schedule a time to talk about your dental anxiety. Chances are that you will feel more relaxed and ready for the preventive and restorative treatments that result in a healthy smile.

Remember, healthy teeth make a healthy smile!

Dr. Nishan Halim

Nishan Halim, DMD specializes in a comprehensive approach to dental care in his Capitol Hill, Washington DC neighborhood dental center. When treatment plans include specialty work, he coordinates every step with the practitioners you choose from his referral network. Contact Dr. Halim to schedule an appointment.


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