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Home Dentist How to Overcome Dental Fear and Anxiety: Guelph Dentists’ Strategies

How to Overcome Dental Fear and Anxiety: Guelph Dentists’ Strategies

Illustration of a dental checkup

Dental fear and anxiety are common issues that many people experience but there are different ways that can help you overcome these anxieties so you can have an overall positive dental experience. Here are some techniques you can use to help you overcome anxiety:


It’s important to convey all your fears to your dentist and be honest about them. A good dentist will listen and create the correct environment. Listed below are different things you can communicate.

  1. Communicate your concerns: Be honest about your fears and anxieties surrounding dental visits. This can include specific triggers, such as the sound of dental tools or the fear of pain.
  2. Communicate any past negative experiences: It’s crucial to discuss any past negative experiences to avoid repeating any triggers or actions that may have contributed to their anxiety.
  3. Communicating builds trust: It’s important to ask questions about the procedures and express any concerns you may have, ultimately allowing your dentist to address them.
  4. Explore relaxation techniques: Ask your dentist about different relaxation techniques they offer in the office such as calming music or other ways to help patients relax during treatment.
  5. Re-cap the treatment: Take the time to discuss your experience with your dentist. Share what aspects went well and what could be improved to make future visits more comfortable.


Research, Research, and Research! Look for a dentist who specializes in treating patients with dental anxiety. You can always call and communicate your anxieties and get an understanding of the dentists and come up with different strategies for dental anxiety.

  1. Research dentists: Take the time to research dentists in your area who specifically mention dental fear and anxiety. Look for testimonials or reviews from patients who have had positive experiences with managing their anxiety at their dental practice.
  2. Seek recommendations: Ask friends, family members, or healthcare professionals for recommendations. Personal referrals can provide valuable insights into dentists who are known for their patient-centered approach.
  3. Consultation appointment: Schedule a consultation appointment with potential dentists to gauge their understanding of dental anxiety and their approach to managing it.
  4. Consider the office environment: Pay attention to the office environment during your consultation visit. Look for a dental practice that has a calming atmosphere, friendly staff, and amenities designed to make patients feel at ease.
  5. Communication style: Assess the dentist’s communication style during your consultation. A sympathetic dentist will listen attentively, show empathy, and be willing to answer all of your questions.
  6. Sedation options: Inquire about the availability of sedation options at the dental practice. A dentist who specializes in treating anxious patients may offer various sedation techniques, such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral sedatives, or intravenous (IV) sedation.
  7. Trust your Gut: Trust your gut when selecting a dentist. If you feel a connection, a sense of trust, and confidence in their ability to address your anxiety.


Schedule an initial consultation with the dentist before any actual treatment. This gives you an opportunity to meet the dentist, discuss your concerns, get familiar with the environment without any pressure and ensure that they offer a supportive dental environment.

  • Familiarization with the dentist: A consultation allows you to meet the dentist in a relaxed setting without the pressure of undergoing treatment.
  • Tour the dental office: During the consultation, ask if you can have a brief tour of the dental office. Familiarize yourself with the surroundings, including the waiting area, treatment rooms, and any amenities or relaxation features available.
  • Review treatment options: Use the consultation to discuss the various treatment options available to address your dental needs. The dentist can explain the procedures, their benefits, and any potential discomfort or pain associated with them.
  • Consider sedation options: If you anticipate needing sedation or anesthesia for your dental treatment, discuss the available options with the dentist during the consultation.
  • Develop a personalized treatment plan: Based on the information gathered during the consultation, the dentist can create a personalized treatment plan that takes your fears and anxieties into account.

Gradual Exposure:

If you have severe dental fear, consider starting with less invasive procedures or cleanings to gradually acclimate yourself to the dental environment.

  1. Desensitization: Gradual exposure to dental procedures through a desensitization process can be beneficial. This involves incrementally increasing the level of exposure and complexity of treatments over time.
  2. Establishing control: Feeling a sense of control over the treatment process can be empowering and help reduce anxiety. Work with your dentist to establish a signal or cue that allows you to take breaks during the procedure if needed.
  3. Gradual exposure techniques: Dentists may employ various techniques to help you gradually become more comfortable with dental procedures. This can include breaking down complex procedures into smaller, more manageable steps or using relaxation techniques during the treatment.
  4. Positive reinforcement: Celebrate each successful step along the way. Acknowledge your progress and give yourself credit for facing your fears and overcoming anxiety.
  5. Patience and understanding: Overcoming dental fear and anxiety takes time, and it’s important to be patient with yourself throughout the process.

Relaxation Techniques:

Deep breathing exercises or meditation before and during your dental visits. These techniques can help calm your nerves and reduce anxiety.

  1. Deep breathing exercises: Deep breathing is a simple yet effective relaxation technique that can help calm your nervous system. Practice taking slow, deep breaths in through your nose, allowing your abdomen to expand, and exhaling slowly through your mouth.
  2. Distraction techniques: Engaging your senses in activities that divert your attention can help distract you from dental anxiety. Consider using headphones to listen to calming music, an audiobook, or a podcast during your appointment.
  3. Communication with the dental team: Let your dental team know that you are actively using relaxation techniques to manage your anxiety. They can accommodate your needs by allowing extra time for appointments or incorporating additional strategies.
  4. Pre-appointment preparation: Before your dental visit, engage in activities that help you relax and reduce anxiety. This can include taking a warm bath, practicing yoga or gentle exercise, or engaging in a calming hobby.
  5. Professional support: Consider seeking professional guidance to learn and practice relaxation strategies for dental anxiety. A therapist or psychologist with experience in anxiety management can provide valuable tools and strategies to help you effectively cope with your fears.


For individuals with extreme dental anxiety, sedation dentistry may be an option. Different levels of sedation can be used, ranging from mild sedation to general anesthesia, depending on your needs and the complexity of the procedure ultimately providing a positive dental experience.

  1. Nitrous oxide (laughing gas): Nitrous oxide is a safe and commonly used sedative that is inhaled through a mask. It induces a state of relaxation and can help reduce anxiety during dental treatment.
  2. Oral sedation: Oral sedatives are prescribed medications that are taken before the dental appointment. These medications help induce a deeper state of relaxation and can be used for mild to moderate anxiety.
  3. Intravenous (IV) sedation: IV sedation involves the administration of sedative medications directly into a vein. This type of sedation induces a deeper level of relaxation and can be used for moderate to severe dental anxiety.

North Eastview Dental is a dedicated family dental center in Guelph, we provide exceptional dental care to patients in Guelph and the surrounding areas. Our experienced team of dental professionals offers a wide range of services, including preventive care, general dentistry, orthodontics, and more. Whether you need a routine cleaning, a filling, or a complex dental procedure, we are here to help. Contact us at or call us at 519-824-5070 to schedule an appointment and experience the difference of personalized, compassionate care at Northeastview Dental.