Tips to overcome Dental Fear


Many people are fearful of going to the dentist.  The reason may be that you had a bad dental experience; the dental injection was painful, you were not numb enough during the treatment, or the dental visit was too long.  These are legitimate reasons that cause people to be afraid of seeking dental treatment. Dental fears are not uncommon.                                                                                                           
Here are some tips to overcome dental fear:

Communication with the dentist & dental team

  • Talk with your dentist & dental staff and let them know you are fearful of the dental visit.
  • Start with simple treatment with short appointments.
  • You may feel more in control if you take part in decisions about your treatment. Ask the dentist to explain the procedure before the treatment.
  • Some patients want to know everything about the treatment. Tell your dentist to explain what is happening at every stage of the dental procedure.
  • Hand signal such as “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” tells the dentist to continue or stop the procedure.  Thumbs up means to continue the procedure.  Thumbs downs means stop.
  • Discuss fees and finance before the treatment.

Pain Control

  • Research has shown that pain is one of the main reasons people avoid seeing the dentist.
  • Make sure you tell the dentist if you are not numb enough before or during the dental procedure.
  • Minimize pain with using topical anesthetics. It is applied with a Q-tip to numb an area of the mouth before the injection.
  • Ask for pain medication prescriptions if needed after an extensive dental procedure. 

Use Distraction

  • Watch a funny video to help you relax before the treatment
  • Wear head phone and listen to music during the treatment
  • Squeeze a stress ball
  • Imagine your happy place and visualize yourself at a relaxing place

Practice relaxation Techniques

  • Relaxation exercises: take a big breath and letting it out very slowly
  • Relax your muscle & slow your heart rate

Sedative may be needed before the procedure

  • Some patients take Valium to relax prior to the treatment
  • Sedatives help people feel calmer and more relaxed during the treatment

Bring a companion during appointments

  • Bring a friend or family member to the dental appointment for support
  • Friend or family member keeps you company during the treatment
  • Keep your mind off any unpleasant thoughts

Reward Yourself

  • Buy something nice or do something fun to reward yourself for overcoming the fear of the dental treatment
  • Rewards can help you to relate dental visits with fun activities
Dental fears are not uncommon. Finding a dentist who listens and understands your dental fears is important. Dental visits should not just be getting the dental treatment done; it should also be creating a positive experience. Dr. Anna Lee is a general & cosmetic dentist in Glendora, CA. She listens and understands your dental fears. Dr. Lee and her team can help you to reduce your dental fears. Call our office for a dental visit at 626-335-5114 or visit us at

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