Dental Anxiety and Fear

The overwhelming fear of dental appointments can be a common cause of anxiety.  Many people visualize a drill-wielding man in a white coat just waiting to cause pain and remove teeth.  The reality, however, is very different.  The comfort, relaxation and happiness of the patient are embedded deep at the heart of any good dental practice.  Our staff at Theisen Dental will do whatever they can to reduce anxiety, allay fears and provide painless, quick treatments. There are a variety of anesthetics available to eliminate pain and reduce anxiety during routine appointments.

  Here is a list of some of the most common dental fears:

  • Fear of embarrassment about the condition of teeth
  • Fear of gagging
  • Fear of the needle and/or injections
  • Fear of loss of control
  • Fear of not becoming numb when injected with local anesthetic
  • Fear of pain
  • Fear of the dentist as a person
  • Fear of the  dental hand piece (dental drill)

How can one overcome dental anxiety?

Dental anxiety and fear can become completely overwhelming.  It is estimated that as many as 35 million people do not visit the dental office at all because they are too afraid.  Receiving regular dental check ups and cleanings is incredibly important. Having regular routine check ups is the easiest way to maintain excellent oral hygiene and reduce the need for more complex treatments.

Here are some tips to help reduce dental fear and anxiety:

Talk to Dr. Theisen– Let Dr. Theisen know if you have a lot of fear and anxiety associated with coming to the dentist. Though it can be hard to talk about your fears, the more Dr. Theisen knows, the better she and her staff can help you and take extra precautions to make your visits as enjoyable as possible. 

Portable music player – Music acts as a relaxant and also drowns out any fear-producing noises.  Listening to calming music throughout the appointment will help to reduce anxiety. Plan a good playlist and bring along your headphones to use during your dental visits!

Agree on a signal – Many people are afraid that the dentist will not know they are in significant pain during the appointment, and will carry on the procedure regardless.  The best way to solve this problem is to agree on a “stop” hand signal with the dentist.  Both parties can easily understand signals like raising the hand or tapping on the chair.

Spray the throat – Throat sprays (for example, Vicks® Chloraseptic® Throat Spray) can actually control the gag reflex.  Two or three sprays will usually keep the reflex under control for about an hour.  Also, some salt on the tongue can help with a strong gag reflex.

Nitrous oxide sedation- Requesting the need for nitrous oxide (laughing gas) offers an excellent option for many people.  

If you have questions or concerns about how Dr. Theisen can help you overcome anxiety and fear, please contact our office.

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We encourage you to contact us with any questions or comments you may have. Please call our office or use the quick contact form below.


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