Is Dental Anxiety Normal?

Dental anxiety is a common feeling. Dental phobia, while less common, unfortunately, leads to avoidance of necessary dental care.

How Common Is Dental Anxiety?

Don’t like to go to the dentist? Welcome to the club. Most people would rather be anywhere other than a dentist’s chair. Many folks suffer from extreme symptoms of dental anxiety or even dental phobia. Sedation dentists and pain-free dentists are accustomed to dealing with those conditions.

Dental anxiety describes feelings of fear, uneasiness, and stress before or during a visit to the dentist. One of the things you dread is the likelihood you will need work if you haven’t been to the dentist in a long time. Beyond that, you fear the pain from any work that must be done.

Sometimes dental anxiety causes people to postpone much-needed dental work. Dental phobia is an extreme case of dental anxiety and is less common. Some indications of dental phobia are:

  • Extreme nervousness as your appointment nears
  • Sleeping difficulty
  • Physical sickness in anticipation of your appointment
  • Severe emotional reactions like crying
  • Trouble getting your breath

Dental anxiety affects about 36% of us. About another 12% suffer from dental phobia. Studies have shown that dental anxiety or phobia leads to dental care avoidance. This results in poor dental health, which in turn adversely affects your quality of life. 

Tips to Deal With Dental Anxiety 

If you have dental anxiety, the following are some techniques you can use to cope with it yourself. 

  • Deep breathing is effective for dealing with any anxiety
  • Listen to music as a distraction
  • Muscle relaxation exercises
  • Your dentist will have you signal when you want to stop
  • Bring a weighted blanket to your appointment
  • Hypnosis

Things Your Sedation Dentist Can Do 

Pain-free dentists are used to dealing with dental anxiety and phobia. These are some of the measures they might prescribe. Whenever your dentist prescribes any of these measures you must have someone drive you to and from your appointment. 

  • Sometimes oral anxiety-relieving medications are prescribed. You take these tablets one hour before your appointment.
  • Conscious sedation is a very common measure.
  • General anesthesia is only used for serious dental surgery. You are fully asleep. It is carried out in a hospital by a licensed anesthetist. Anesthesia has many side effects including nausea and a longer recovery time. 

Methods of Conscious Sedation 

Conscious sedation methods are sometimes called “twilight sedation” because you’re not fully asleep. You can respond to those around you, you will experience no anxiety, you will feel no pain, and you may not remember any of the experience when it’s over. 

An old form of conscious sedation is nitrous oxide (‘laughing gas’). It is administered by a pain-free dentist with a mask from which the patient breaths the gas. It causes extreme relaxation but not sleep. Your dentist can administer this method without any special training. 

An increasingly popular conscious sedation method is IV sedation. It is administered by a specially trained dental sedationist. The sedationist inserts a thin needle into your vein, which is no more painful than drawing blood. 

Medications drip into your bloodstream through your vein. Different drugs can be used for IV sedation. Benzodiazepines (Midazolam or Diazepam) are the most common. They reduce anxiety, make you sleepy but keep you awake, and produce amnesia. 


Sedation dentistry is increasingly popular along with increased awareness of dental anxiety and phobia. At Sedation Dental Spa in Broward County, FL we have many years of experience in coping with dental anxiety. We make your dental experience with us as comfortable as possible. Contact Sedation Dental Spa to learn more.