Dental Procedure Pain: Get the Facts

Anxiety Keeping You Away From The Dentist? 4 Steps To Help You Overcome The Distress

If you suffer from dental anxiety, those semi-annual checkups can be a real problem. Unfortunately, avoiding your checkups can lead to serious dental problems. If dental anxiety is preventing you from receiving the care you need, help is available. Here are four steps you can take to help make your dental anxiety more manageable.

Take a Friend

If you suffer from dental anxiety, the idea of sitting alone in the waiting room may be too much to bear. Instead of going alone, ask a friend to go with you. Bringing a friend with you—who has no fear of dentists—will allow you to have a support system with you. Talk to them in advance about your anxiety. Ask them to be prepared with calming words if you feel an anxiety attack coming on. By informing your friend about your condition, they'll be prepared to help you through the attack.

Bring a Distraction

The sights and sounds of a dental office can be unnerving, especially if you suffer from dental anxiety. That's where a distraction comes in handy. Before you head to your next dental appointment, make sure you've packed a hand-held distraction. Earphones and your favorite music will allow you to close your eyes and relax while your dental work is being done. To make sure you don't open your eyes during the procedure, bring along a sleep mask.

Use Nerve Stimulation

If you have severe dental anxiety, you might want to consider a portable nerve stimulation unit. This handheld device utilizes small transducers that you attach to your earlobes. Once the transducers are in place, the device sends mild electroshocks to your ears, which reduces the severity of your anxiety attacks. You control the amount of electrotherapeutic stimulation you receive.

Request Sedation Dentistry

If you're still having trouble overcoming your anxiety, talk to your dentist about sedation dentistry. This type of dentistry allows you to receive medication to alleviate the distress of dental anxiety. There are several options available to you, including inhaled, oral, intravenous, and general anesthesia.


This type of sedation is delivered through a breathing mask. Nitrous oxide—or laughing gas—is a form of inhaled sedation. The dentist will control the gas levels throughout the procedure.


With oral sedation, the dentist will prescribe a mild sedative that you'll need to take prior to arriving for your appointment. The medication will cause you to relax and fall asleep during the dental procedure.


With intravenous sedation, the medication will be delivered through an IV. This type of sedation works quickly so the dentist will be able to get started on your dental work quicker.

General Anesthesia

If you're going to require extensive dental work, the dentist may recommend general anesthesia. With this type of sedation, you'll be unconscious throughout the procedure.

Don't let dental anxiety prevent you from receiving the dental care you need. The information provided here will help you overcome the distress of dental anxiety so you can visit the dentist.