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Breaking the Cycle: How To Accept And Face Your Dental Anxiety And Fears for a Healthier Smile

Dentophobia or odontophobia is scientific terminology for dental phobia, which is discomfort or fear and anxiety experienced by those who visit dentists. This psychological condition is characterized by extreme apprehension related to dental visits. It can affect people of all ages and is more common than we think.

Causes Of Dental Anxiety

There are many different causes of dental anxiety during dental visits. Even if you are willing and have to get it done, preventive dentistry, restorative dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, or orthodontics can cause an irrational fear experience or panic and stress – this is natural. Here are some common causes of dental anxiety:

Fear Of The Unknown

Not knowing what to expect during a dental visit translates into fear and increases anxiety even before your dental appointment.

Fear Of Pain

The most common trigger is the fear of feeling pain during dental procedures. Worrying about pain during dental fillings and drillings, root canal treatments, implant-supported procedures, and fitting dental crowns is understandable.

Fear Of Needles

Most dental procedures use anesthesia for pain numbing. Still, the thought of injecting the numbing substance through a needle can cause fear, and this is because hands are associated with causing pain.

Loss Of Control

Once in the dental chair, there is only a little the patient can do except rely on their dentist to do their best. That feeling of ‘not being able to have control’ over what’s happening causes anxiety.

Previous Negative Dental Experiences

Suppose you’ve ever had bad experiences with dentists and dental procedures. In that case, it is common to feel that it may reoccur – another significant cause contributing to anxiety and phobia.

Sensory Overload

Imagine hearing a fellow patient scream or the dental drill drilling into someone’s tooth; the noises you hear and maybe even the smells you sense around the area can be overwhelming, adding to the anxiety.

Practical Strategies For Overcoming Dental Anxiety And Fear

Overcoming dental anxiety and fear is a gradual process that takes a while, with many factors contributing to its success. From adopting methods like exposure therapy (facing your fears) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (techniques to face your fears), here are some practical ways to overcome dental anxiety and dread.

Acknowledge Your Fear: First, recognize and accept that you have dental anxiety. When you acknowledge your fears, you can tackle them better.

Communicate With Your Dentist: Tell your dentist about your fears; if you know the exact cause, your dentist will understand and support you better as you go through any dental procedure.

Choose The Right Dentist: Find a dentist who is patient-centered, professional, gentle, and understanding. The best dentist will put you at ease while doing a great job. Look for compassionate dentists who know how to handle patients experiencing dental anxiety.

Gradual Exposure: Before jumping into more extensive procedures, start with smaller routine checkups and cleaning procedures. This helps you to gather confidence, face your fears, and gradually overcome them.

Practice Relaxation Techniques And Distraction Techniques

Relaxation techniques include mindfulness exercises, deep breathing, and visualization methods, while distraction techniques include techniques such as listening to calming music or audiobooks. Both ways help you relax and distract your mind from the immediate fear and stress you experience during the dental visit.

  • Signal For A Break. You could signal to your dentist that you need a break by raising your hand during the procedure. This helps to relax if you’re anxious or experience discomfort and pain.
  • Sedation Options. You could discuss sedation options such as oral sedatives or nitrous oxide to calm down during more intense dental procedures.
  • Support System. Bringing a friend or family member to your dental visit can help calm your anxiousness; it is a fantastic support system to stay calmer.


At Panacea Dental, we have a specialized team of the best dentists using advanced dental technology and, hence, are well-acclaimed dentists in Libertyville. Our clients choose us because we understand dental anxiety and prioritize patient concerns over everything else; as we aim to give you the best dental treatments most compassionately and gently, we know how to help you overcome your dental anxiety and phobia to have the healthiest smile you’ve ever wanted.


Schedule your appointment or get in touch for a relaxing, stress-free dental experience in Libertyville.


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