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Scared of the dentist? A certain extent of apprehension is normal before going to the dentist, or any doctor for that matter. But if your anxiety affects your oral health and prevent you from going to the dentist, you may be experiencing dental fear, anxiety, or phobia.

Scared of the Dentist Learn How to Overcome It.15-18% of People in the UK Avoid Dentists

Current estimates reveal that between 15-18% of people in the UK avoid dentists out of fear. Meanwhile, 30% are anxious to the point that they will only seek dental treatment only when necessary.

What Triggered Dental Anxiety?

Dental anxiety, fear, or phobia are usually triggered by certain events or experiences, and some of these are:

  • Loss of control: Some patients feel like they’re losing control when they lie on a dental chair and find it overwhelming when a dentist hover above their heads and probe inside their mouths. They typically associate the feeling with helplessness or being trapped.
  • Pain: Most people dread going to the dentist out of fear of pain, especially those who have a low pain threshold.
  • Embarrassment: Some patients feel ashamed or embarrassed when dentists look inside their mouths and examine their gums and teeth. Discomfort can also result from the little distance between a patient and dentist during treatment.
  • Past Experience: Most people develop dental fears due to a bad experience in the past. If a previous treatment was painful or resulted to complications, a patient may develop trepidations about going to the dentist again.

Dental Anxiety, Fear, and Phobia: Knowing the Difference

Dental anxiety, fear, and phobia are similar in a sense that they all have something to do with apprehensions about going to the dentist. However, they differ to some extent.

Dental anxiety refers to being uneasy or worried about something unknown. Most patients experience this to a certain degree, especially if they’re about to undergo a treatment for the first time. Meanwhile, fear is a reaction to a known danger, which can be brought about by a bad experience in the past. It can also result to a fight-or-flight reaction.

Dental phobia, on the other hand, is a more intense feeling of fear or dread. People who have it are typically panic-stricken and will do anything to avoid dental visits and treatments. Typically, dental phobics only visit dentists and seek treatment when their condition becomes overwhelming.

Dental anxiety, fear, and phobia not just result to poor oral health, but also affect a person’s well-being. In fact, they can pave way for other health problems, low self-esteem, or self doubt.

Scared of the Dentist. Afraid of dentist or fear of doctor. Scared and nervous patient in hospital. Upset woman with phobia having panic attack in clinic before medical operation.How to Overcome Your Dental Fears

There are ways to overcome any apprehensions you may have about going to the dentist. Here are ten ways to help you do so.

  1. Recognise your Fears: To better understand your feelings and address them, you need to come into terms with your anxiety or fear of going to the dentist. Write your fears down, so that you can talk about them better. Listing your fears will not just help you recognise them, but also aid your dentist in explaining what’s causing your anxiety or phobia and helping you deal with it.
  2. Find the Right Dentist: A big part of overcoming your dental fears is choosing the right dental centre to work with. Look up local listings and ask family and friends for recommendations. Focus your search on dentists, like Tooth Doctor, who specialise in treating anxious or fearful patients. Once you narrowed down choices, start calling each of them. Observe how the staff talks to you. Are they accommodating? Do they sound dismissive? Did the dentist return your call? If you’re comfortable talking with them on the phone, you can schedule a visit to get a feel of the place and meet the dentist in person. On your visit, take note of the place’s atmosphere and surroundings. If it’s clean and you feel relaxed, then that’s a good sign it’s a clinic that can address not just your oral problems but also your anxiety. While it’s comforting to hear phrases like, “There’s nothing you should worry about,” or “It’s going to be different with us,” keep in mind that a good dentist will not say those things. Instead, the right dentist will offer assurance through an understanding of your fears without making you feel judged.
  3. Communicate your Fears and Anxiety: The foundation of any good relationship is communication. Early on, even before you set an appointment with a dentist, it’s best to be vocal about your apprehensions, fears, and anxiety. This way, you’re giving the dentist a way to gauge your situation and tailor an action plan suited for your needs. In most cases, dentists would devise cues and signals if you want to take breaks or stop the treatment if you get uncomfortable.
  4. Determine Ways to Gradually Reduce your Fears: For people with dental fear, visits should not just be about getting a procedure done, it should be about creating a good experience, so that any fear or anxiety can be reduced. The right doctor will not rush you into treatment if you’re uncomfortable
  5. As you work with a dentist, see if you can begin with milder treatments, so that you can ease into sitting on that dental chair and having your dentist look inside your mouth. Once you’re ready, you can proceed to more advanced treatments.
  6. Bring a Companion During Appointments: Having someone with you on a dental appointment, may it be a friend or family member, can offer an extra layer of support and assurance. If possible, see if your loved one can still keep you company even during a procedure.
  7. TIP: Go with someone who doesn’t have any fears about going to the dentists. More so, schedule the appointment in the morning, so that you can spend less time dwelling on your apprehensions.
  8. See if Sedatives are Appropriate: Sedation can be administered to keep a patient calm and relaxed during treatment. Some sedatives include local anesthetic, nitrous oxide, and oral or IV sedation. Discuss with your dentist if sedatives are advisable, and if so, which one will work best for you.
  9. Practice Relaxation Techniques: Relaxation exercises can help you stay calm during treatment. One of the ways you can relax is through controlled breathing, which involves taking a big breath and letting it out very slowly. This will help relax your muscle and slow your heartbeat.
  10. Use Distractions: Distractions can help divert your attention during treatment. Some of the ways to take your mind off the procedure are listening to music, fiddling with a stress ball, and counting to yourself. Meanwhile, you can also watch a funny video or a feel-good clip to help you relax before appointments.
  11. Seek the Help of a Psychologist: If your fear is so intense and none of the tips mentioned above worked for you, consider consulting a psychologist. Psychologists specialise in addressing phobias including dental fear.
  12. Reward Yourself: Once you overcome your dental fear or make milestones like finishing a particular dental treatment, reward yourself. Buy something nice or do something fun like going on a weekend getaway. Doing so will help you relate dental visits with fun activities.

Keep in Mind

Dental treatments are way more advanced now as compared to a few years back. In fact, there are ways to do things with as minimal pain as possible—from the administration of anesthesia to surgery. More so, dentists recognise that people have apprehensions about going to them, so they continue to strive in providing a comfortable and reassuring atmosphere for patients.

A dental visit is not as dreadful as you think, because its goal is to keep your oral health in check. If you’re trying to overcome your anxiety or fear, keep Tooth Doctor’s top 10 tips to make your appointment as comfortable as possible.

Scared of the Dentist Learn How to Overcome It. Why Choose Tooth Doctor to Conquer Dental Anxiety?

Choosing Tooth Doctor as your partner in overcoming dental anxiety is a wise decision for several compelling reasons. First and foremost, we understand the unique challenges that individuals with dental anxiety face. Our teams at Basildon, Brentwood and Stanford-le-Hope are not only highly skilled and experienced in providing premium dental care but also exceptionally compassionate and empathetic. We prioritise your comfort and well-being throughout every step of your dental journey.

At Tooth Doctor, we offer a range of dental anxiety management techniques, including conscious sedation and relaxation strategies, to ensure that your experience is as stress-free as possible. We take the time to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and tailor our approach to your specific needs. Our modern and welcoming dental clinics in Basildon, Brentwood, and Stanford-le-Hope are designed to create a calming atmosphere, further enhancing your comfort.

Moreover, our flexible appointment scheduling, including evening and Saturday hours, allows you to choose a convenient time for your visit. We are committed to providing a dental experience that not only addresses your oral health but also helps you overcome your dental anxiety, paving the way for a lifetime of confident smiles. With Tooth Doctor, you can take the first step toward better oral health and a more positive dental experience.

Dentist near you. Our dentist in Essex and Thurrock - Tooth Doctor Dentist near me. Dr Anmol Patel ASSOCIATE DENTIST at Tooth Doctor Stanford-le-Hope clinic. Dentist nearby. Dr Osi - Dentist in Basildon clinic of Tooth Doctor Dr Yazan. Dentist near you at Tooth Doctor in Essex and Thurrock Ally Pope, PRACTICE MANAGER of Tooth Doctor - Dentist near you in Stanford-le-Hope  Andreea - Dentist near me at Tooth Doctor Essex and Thurrock

What Our Patients Say

Abbie RichardsonAbbie Richardson
22:57 01 Dec 23
After avoiding the dentist for years, Anthony was outstanding. I physically could not recommend this dentist practise or Anthony anymore, everyone there was lovely
Sophisticated knightSophisticated knight
14:03 30 Nov 23
Clean professional outfit. Friendly staff, reasonable prices and makes what can be an experience a lot of people dread a more pleasant one.
Soo Ling OonSoo Ling Oon
13:32 29 Nov 23
Bradley MorrisBradley Morris
08:43 21 Nov 23
Recommended to these guys by a friend, and I can see why!Great customer service, treated me on the same day, lovely staff - I highly recommend these guys too if looking for dental care in Brentwood
Neethu VargheseNeethu Varghese
10:04 11 Nov 23
Lovely place and staffs. The doctor Anthony was very friendly and made me feel comfortable throughout the process.
Amy SalmonAmy Salmon
10:42 08 Nov 23
Booked appointment well in advance as have 2 young children I needed to arrange childcare for.Randomly receive a text saying my appointment cancelled, upon calling I was greeted with an unhelpful and unsympathetic receptionist who couldn't tell me why my appointment was cancelled alongside refused to rebook the appointment for the day id booked again which I'd arranged childcare for.I'd avoid like the plague if this is the service received before even arriving. I'll be booking elsewhere for sure
Lea EkwubiriLea Ekwubiri
14:11 23 Oct 23
Anthony is probably the best Dentist I have ever seen. I've always had a terrible fear of Dentists, but after meeting Anthony I felt relaxed, I felt that I could trust him too, which is so important to me. I would recommend him to anybody, he's a lovely young, and knows his stuff.
Kemi OKemi O
09:28 10 Oct 23
Amazing service! I left my local dentist of 8 years due to bad service and I am so happy my family is under the care of Jayde. Professional, personal and knowledgeable. She educates you on your teeth - something I have never had. Would recommend to anyone looking for a quality dentist who does not see you as just a number.
Darren HutsonDarren Hutson
08:24 22 Aug 23
Paul WhalleyPaul Whalley
09:58 16 Aug 23
Dentist Jayde is very pleasant, very through and very professional.Practice is private only, no NHS.
Sandra PAVEYSandra PAVEY
08:44 16 Aug 23
Very good serviceJadye is an excellent dentistWould highly recommend
matt aredematt arede
11:30 30 Jul 23
Gigi TacelGigi Tacel
08:13 26 Jul 23
Great dentist, would recommend to anyone wanting any treatments or dental hygiene, fillings, etc.Special shout out to dentist Jayde who was very supportive, professional, made me feel comfortable, explains everything clearly and I was very satisfied with everything done. Highly recommended!
Krissy RaceKrissy Race
09:56 18 Jul 23
11:55 11 Apr 23
Absolutely Amazing, got me in when fully booked as I was in Pain, the Staff all staff second to none, top Service, can't praise them enough 🙌 👏
Freddie TurnerFreddie Turner
13:47 25 Jan 23
What a fantastic dentists!After trying most of the local dentists in the Brentwood area and most having a long waiting list I was presently surprised at how fast and simple the booking process was.The dental treatment was for my father who suffers from poor mental health and hadn't been to the dentist for over 20 years so this was extremely daunting for him.From the first call to our last treatment, the team were Fantastic. They went above and beyond to make my father feel at ease throughout the process and have such a high level for patients care and wellbeing.The work carried out was A1 and my father was extremely happy with his dental work and would highly recommend!!From Derek and Feeddie THANK YOU!ps. Sorry for the delay!
17:59 08 Nov 22
I have just finished my Invisalign treatment with Jayde @ the Brentwood branch and I could not recommend more highly. From start to finish Jayde explained each step thoroughly & kept me at ease. I am over the moon with how my teeth now look. The process was smooth painless and fast! Thank you so much
Gina PavlovaGina Pavlova
14:58 17 Oct 22
I required an emergency appointment and they were able to accommodate.The staff were all very friendly , welcoming and explained everything to me which made me very much at ease .I would defiantly recommend

Our Location in Essex and Thurrock

Tooth Doctor proudly serves the community of Essex and Thurrock with three conveniently located dental clinics. Whether you’re in Basildon, Brentwood or Stanford-le-Hope, a top-tier dental experience is just around the corner. The Basildon clinic is situated at 7 Market Pavement SS14 1DD. The Brentwood clinic is at 27 High Street CM14 4RG. The Stanford-le-Hope clinic is at 26 Corringham Rd SS17 0AH. They are all easily accessible both by car and public transportation. With ample parking options and proximity to major transit routes, getting to us for your dental treatments is a breeze. No matter which surrounding area you’re coming from, Tooth Doctor ensures a smooth journey to a brighter smile!

Tooth Doctor in Essex and Thurrock - Clinic front door

Book an Appointment

Take your first step by booking an appointment with us. Our experienced dentist will employ a range of gentle techniques and compassionate care to help you conquer your dental anxiety and make your dental visits comfortable and stress-free.