How to Cope with Dental Anxiety

Iqaluit Dental Clinic image of a dentist and patient discussing dental anxiety
May 18, 2022 0 Comments

Some people avoid visiting the dentist because they suffer from dental anxiety. Iqaluit Dental Clinic defines dental anxiety as a feeling of concern around dental appointments. However, regular dental visits are essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. It’s estimated that as much as 36 percent of the population suffers from dental anxiety, making it a prevalent issue. 

Here is a look at some techniques to manage dental anxiety and a few symptoms and causes for it so that you won’t have to put off visits to the dentist.

Treatments and Coping Strategies for Dental Anxiety

Anxiety-related to dental procedures can affect people of any age. The following is a list of several coping methods that you can use to ease your concerns and get you back into the dental chair.

Communicate your concerns to your dentist

Don’t be afraid to voice your worries to your dentist; they’ll want to hear them. They have options that will make the process less difficult to complete. They can walk you through the process step by step, beginning to end, so that you are aware of what to anticipate. They will also be able to provide you with recommendations on strategies to help you relax and feel more at ease throughout the appointment.

Do not be afraid to seek clarification or ask questions. If you better understand the process, you might experience less anxiety.

Breathing exercises

Activities including deep breathing might help you feel more peaceful and relaxed overall. Appointments to the dentist might be less stressful if you practise these exercises.

Shut your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose. After holding it for a few seconds, slowly let the air out through your mouth as you release it. This should be done multiple times.

Relaxing your muscles and meditating

Your anxiety may become more severe as you wait in the waiting area or as soon as you take your seat in the dental chair. Meditation is an easy practise that can help alleviate anxiety and bring about a state of serenity when faced with challenges like these.

It is possible to create this condition in virtually any place, including at the dentist’s office. Meditation is characterised by heightened awareness, focused attention, and relaxed muscles.

When you are comfortable in your seat, either close your eyes or fix your gaze on something in the room, and then give your entire body permission to unwind. Pay attention to the various parts of your body and make an attempt to relax your complete body by letting go of any tension that you may be holding, beginning with your head and working your way down to your feet.

You can practice meditation before and during your visit to keep yourself relaxed and on task.

The use of guided imagery

While you’re waiting for your dental procedure, try thinking positive thoughts. Imagine yourself in your “happy zone” and reflect on some of your most joyful or amusing experiences from the past. Getting in touch with your past can make you feel happy, enabling you to settle down and relax your mind.


In hypnotherapy, one of the goals is to induce a sense of serenity while also subduing one’s conscious mind. With the help of this guided relaxation exercise, you will be able to enter a trance-like state. Once in this state, a hypnotherapist will utilise the power of suggestion to help you feel less anxious. It is essential to keep in mind that the hypnotherapist will not be able to coerce you into doing anything that you would not normally do.


Having something to take your mind off things while at the dentist can also help ease anxiety. Discuss the matter in advance with your dentist. Check to see if you can watch a movie or a show during your visit, or see if you can put on some headphones and listen to some music instead.

Bring a friend with you

It’s possible that having the support of a friend or family member will help you relax. Inquire with your dentist about the possibility of bringing a companion with you into the examination room. Even though you won’t be able to communicate with this person while you’re at your appointment, just being in their presence can make you feel more secure, at ease, and calm.


This is a class of drugs that can be taken to alleviate pain. These medications can be purchased over-the-counter, but they are also used at the dentist’s office to give pain relief and moderate anxiety reduction during procedures.

Nitrous oxide, sometimes known as laughing gas, is a flavourless and odourless gas that patients breathe in before or while undergoing dental procedures. Dentists frequently use this gas. Please inquire with the company that handles your dental insurance about whether or not they pay the cost of nitrous oxide. Some plans might not cover this benefit.

Medication for the relief of anxiety symptoms

Some dentists may recommend a short-acting anti-anxiety drug to patients with mild anxiety before an appointment to assist the patient feel less anxious. It would help if you started taking the prescription no later than an hour before your appointment.

Sedation with full consciousness

Conscious sedation is a treatment option for anxiety that ranges from moderate to severe. This entails taking an oral sedative a couple of hours before your scheduled appointment at the dentist. Since this is not a general anaesthetic, you won’t be put to sleep for the duration of the session. However, although maintaining consciousness and responsiveness, you will be in a highly relaxed condition.


An alternative for patients who suffer from extreme dental anxiety entails falling completely asleep or unconscious throughout the dental procedure.

Keep in mind that some dental procedures require the anaesthetic to be performed in a hospital setting by a specialist called an anesthesiologist. Some dental practises can administer general anaesthesia. However, this requires the dentist to have completed extensive additional training.

If you have dental insurance, you should contact your provider to find out whether or not they cover the cost of general anaesthesia for their patients. Some plans might not cover this benefit.

The Symptoms of Dental Anxiety

What are the signs that you might have dental anxiety? Although some people experience some level of unease before a dentist appointment, such apprehension does not prevent them from fulfilling their scheduled appointments.

People who suffer from dental anxiety, on the other hand, are more likely to feel disturbing symptoms before their scheduled checkups. For instance: 

  • Heart palpitations
  • Panic attacks
  • Low blood pressure
  • Being aggressive
  • Excessive sweating 
  • Emotional 
  • Feeling Lightheaded 

How exactly can fear of the dentist impact one’s oral health?

If you have a fear of being in the dentist’s chair, you could skip appointments or give yourself too much time between visits to the office. This can result in problems with one’s dental health.

Appointments at the dentist’s office should be scheduled regularly so that cavities and other issues with oral health can be identified at an early stage. When professional cleanings are skipped, the likelihood of gum disease and other dental concerns, such as bleeding gums, loose teeth, and foul breath. At Iqaluit Dental Clinic, we are ready to talk to you about your dental anxieties and help you through the process.