A - Anxiety (A to Z Challenge April 2014)

Dental Anxiety is a very real thing and more common than we would like to believe.  Many people avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety or fear. Patients typically exhibit avoidance behaviour, that is, they will avoid going to the dentist and will go only when compelled to do so by severe pain. 

Some signs of dental anxiety or phobia are
  • Trouble sleeping the night before a dental treatment
  • Nervousness that increases while waiting in the dental office
  • Feeling physically sick or crying at the thought of visiting a dentist
  • Extreme uneasiness at the thought of dental instruments in your mouth or feeling like i is difficult to breathe
The reasons for dental anxiety could be any of the following
  • Fear of pain : An unpleasant or painful dental experience in the past or "horror stories" by others usually give rise to unnecessary dental fear. With the advances in science and medicine today, most dental treatments are pain free.
  • Fear of injections or that the anaesthesia will not work
  • Feeling of a loss of control or helplessness
  • Embarrassment or self consciousness 
  • Fear of the unknown : Being an active participant in your treatment plan and being explained to, the various procedures that need to be carried out, prevent apprehension and reduces anxiety.
  • Unable to breathe through the nose
  • Sensitive gag reflex
The best way to overcome your fear is to discuss openly with your dentist about your anxieties. That will help the dentist work towards making you less anxious and comfortable. If your dentist does not take your fear seriously, find another dentist. 


  1. I do have anxiety about the dentist and part of it is a strong gag reflex and a small mouth. I found a dentist I really like and do the regular visits despite my trepidation. I made sure I started my children when they were only two years old. They had good experiences and grew up without fear.

    1. I am glad that you found a Dentist who could allay your fears and make you comfortable enough that not only did you go for your dental visits regularly, but you also made sure that your children went regularly and did not get the opportunity to develop dental anxiety. Kudos to both your dentist and mostly you.


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