There are many people who need dental work but avoid having it because of fear. According to the Dental Fears Research Clinic, over 7 percent of Americans are afraid to visit a dentist. It is estimated that more than 19 percent experience extreme anxiety and only visit a dental office when it’s necessary. Another third of people have issues because of other problems such as childhood traumas, emotional disorders and more. Much of the fear is not from thinking of pain but feeling a lack of control when in a dentist’s chair.

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Developing Calm

It is possible for people who have an intense fear of dental procedures to decrease or even eliminate their anxiety. They can eventually remain calm during dental treatments. Surveys of patients have proven even the most stressful dental procedures, such as root canals or tooth extractions, were anticipated to provide much more discomfort than what was actually experienced. Some people reduce their stress by going to the dentist with someone they trust who does not fear the dentist. Others are able to remain calm by being distracted while in the dentist chair. This could involve everything from watching television to listening to music and more.

Lack of Control

A dentist can determine a patient’s anxiety level prior to a procedure. Many times patients fear a lack of control. An effective method for handling this situation is for a dentist to make the patient feel in control. The dentist will explain what the patient will feel. They will often ask the patient if it is okay to continue with the procedure. Some dentists provide the option of ending the procedure if a patient is feeling too uncomfortable. The dentist will take a break if it is requested by the patient.

Positive Experiences

Some people struggle with dental visits because they’ve had bad experiences in the past. A dentist can help their patient overcome this fear by providing a good dental experience. The dentist listens carefully to the patient’s fears. They will make an extra effort at pain control. In some cases, this is helped by providing calming photography on the dental office walls. Pictures showing horrible results of gum disease or lack of dental care are removed.


The dentist and patient will discuss what sedatives are appropriate prior to any dental procedure. A dentist will be careful to make certain a patient is comfortable and won’t start the procedure until this is established.


A person should visit the dentist as often as necessary. This will decrease the anxiety and going to the dentist will slowly develop into a regular routine. Doing this also helps avoid serious dental problems. It’s important a person speak with their dentist, but they should also communicate with the staff. This will help create a relaxed feeling when visiting the dentist. Developing a positive relationship with the people who run the dental office will decrease anxiety and provide confidence in having dental work done.