Fear of the Dentist

If you have fear or anxiety about visiting the dentist, you are not alone. In fact, researchers estimate that between 50% to 80% of the population has some form of dental anxiety. Mild to severe anxiety can disrupt dental routines. From routine cleanings to more complex dental implants, patients may have trouble making their appointments

It is vital for patients to continue their dental care. Therefore, many dentists understand patients’ concerns and fears. To keep patients on track, dentists have several ways to treat dental anxiety. No matter your concerns, your dentist can work with you to keep you as comfortable as possible during your appointment. 

scared woman in dental chair afraid of the dentist Boulder Colorado

What Causes It?

The direct causes of dental anxiety can be complicated. Some patients may have had a terrible experience with another dentist. They can pinpoint a direct cause of their fears. Perhaps, they endured a painful procedure or had an unqualified dentist. For example, maybe it was a problem that developed in their childhood. Others may not have any idea why they are afraid of the dentist. Many people can develop phobias that are unexplained or irrational. However, that doesn’t mean their fears are any less valid. It is essential that patients are at ease during their appointments. 

Treatment Options

Your dentist can discuss a few options to minimize your anxiety. 


Sedation is a popular way to reduce your dental anxiety. Your dentist can provide oral conscious sedation, which is typically in pill form. You may take this sedative before you arrive at your appointment or in the office. Unfortunately, you will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment because it will make you sleepy. Another type of sedation is nitrous oxide or laughing gas. Your dentist can administer laughing gas during your appointment. Luckily, the effects wear off quickly, meaning you can return to your regular activities immediately. Finally, you may be a candidate for intravenous (IV) sedation. To learn more about sedation options, visit sedation dentistry.

Bring A Friend

Bringing a friend or family member can help to reduce your anxiety. In addition, a support system may help quell your fears. At the very least, it will be nice for someone to hold your hand while you are scared. They can talk to you while your dentist works. Additionally, you may request that your friend read you the news or a new book. Anything that can help distract or support you is a good idea. 

Distract Yourself

You may consider bringing headphones or earbuds to use as a distraction. Listening to music or a good podcast can help distract you from your appointment. If you think it would be beneficial, you could download a relaxation podcast to help you relax. Taking deep breaths or listening to meditation music can reduce anxiety. 

Talk to Your Dentist

The easiest way to minimize your dental anxiety is to talk to your dentist. They are fully equipped to help you make it through your appointments. In addition, if you request, your dentist can discuss your procedure with you. This may help reduce your anxiety because you know what to expect.