Managing Dental Phobia & Anxiety

10 Tips to Help You Overcome Dentist Phobia

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 prevents you from going to the dentist, you may be experiencing dental fear, anxiety, or phobia.

Current estimates reveal that between 5-8% of people avoid dentists out of fear. Meanwhile, 20% are anxious to the point that they will only seek dental treatment only when necessary.

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 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.

Here are 10 Tips to Overcome Dental Fear or Phobia


1. Tell the dentist about your fears. This information will help the dentist determine how to best manage and address those fears. By letting the dentist know exactly why the experience is difficult for you, you will feel more control in the examination chair.

2. Remember that dental procedures have greatly improved in the past few years. Modern dentistry offers new methods and treatment options to make you feel comfortable.

3. Your dentist can explain the entire procedure to you beforehand, as well as walk you through step-by-step while the procedure is being performed. You always have the right to fully understand the work being done on your teeth.

4. Consider additional medication to relax. Many dentists recommend nitrous oxide, sedation or anti-anxiety medicine for extremely nervous patients. Find a dentist who offers these options to help you get through the visit.

5. Find a dentist you are comfortable with and establish a trusting relationship. There are many personalities in the dental profession. Find a dentist who makes you feel at ease and is willing to work with you on your fears.

6. Breathe deeply and try to relax. Some dentists recommend practicing relaxation techniques before and during the appointment. Other dentists find that listening to music, or scheduling an appointment first thing in the morning, before the stresses of the day add up, also help patients to relax.

7. Talk to the dentist about stopping if you’re uncomfortable. Many of the dentists surveyed said they establish a signal to “stop” with their patients. This puts you in control of the procedure and alerts the dentist if you’re uncomfortable or need to take a break during the appointment.

8. Visit the dentist regularly to prevent problems. For fearful patients, just going for a check up can be nerve-wracking, but the more you go to the dentist for routine cleanings, the more likely you are to avoid larger problems that result in extensive procedures.

9. Visit the office and talk to the staff before your first appointment. You should feel free to meet with the dentist and to ask questions before scheduling your appointment. Meeting the dentist and his or her staff first will help you find a dentist you like and trust.

10. Go slow. Dentists are happy to go slow with nervous patients. If possible, make sure your first visit is a simple one, such as a cleaning. This will help you build your relationship with the dentist before going in for a more difficult procedure.


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 recognize 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 the ten tips discussed to make your appointment as comfortable as possible.


If you are suffering from Dental Phobia, or have extreme fear and anxiety of going to the Dentist, Call Vogue Smiles Melbourne 9629-7664 and we can help. We are gentle and have experienced treating Dental Phobics



Managing Dental Phobia & Anxiety

What are the different causes of dental phobia? How to deal with it

Causes of Dental Phobia


Bad Experience

Dental phobia is often caused by a bad experience in the past. It is thought that this accounts for up to 85% of dental phobias. Bad experiences – it’s not just about a bad physical experience but also about psychologically damaging experiences, like feeling humiliated.

Technology has advanced at such a rapid rate in the dental arena. Modern dentistry in caring hands, is pain free nowadays.

And as for a dentist humiliating a patient… there is never any excuse for that.

Uncaring Dentist

What people commonly fear is pain. But there is the added dimension of it being inflicted upon them by an uncaring and cold individual.

 A history of bullying or having been physically or emotionally abused may contribute to developing a dental phobia. Especially if this is combined with a bad dental experience or a breach of trust by an authority figure.
We can’t hope to unpick any historical damage, but we can reassure you of a safe and caring experience with us.



Sadly, we have many patients who have suffered insensitive and humiliating comments by a dentist in the past and often in their childhoods.
There is no place for humiliation and we understand just how damaging it can be. If you asked us, you’ll also find some stories of insensitivity at the hands of some of our childhood dentists.


Learned Behaviour

Learned behaviour: Children can often learn to be afraid of the dentist if their parents are scared of the dentist. It is also easy to let other people’s negative stories colour your views.

It is hard to be positive when your instincts are to be negative. You could talk to your dentist about ways of thinking about the experience as a good one rather than one fraught with fear.

Our advice with children would be to try to focus on the fun side of a trip to the dentist. E.g. letting them play with the dental chair, rewarding them for good behaviour, giving them a new toothbrush.


Post Traumatic Stress

Research suggests that people who’ve had horrific dental experiences can suffer from symptoms similar to people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is characterized by intrusive thoughts of the bad experience and nightmares about dentists or dental situations.

In these cases, finding a dentist who is thoughtful and compassionate will make such a difference.

I am embarrassed

Please don’t be. Although dental phobia is unique to each person, we do have many patients who are dental phobics. Please tell  our practice manager, that you are nervous. She will make sure that you are treated sensitively from the moment you join us.

I have a sensitive gag reflex

The gag reflex is located on the back third of the throat and helps keep objects from going down your windpipe.

Some people have a very sensitive gag reflex which makes them feel as if they are going to gag or be sick. This can make going to the dentist very difficult but we can help.

Talk to us about your concerns and we will be able to avoid those sensitive areas of your mouth.

There are things that you can do to make the problem easier. Some patients draw their tongue back to give the dentist room to work, but they end up gagging on their tongue. We can work together to find ways to avoid gagging movements.


What are the different causes of dental phobia? How to deal with it

What do you do to minimise pain?


Modern dentistry shouldn’t be painful. Here are some of the things that we do to minimise pain:

We listen to you: If you’re feeling nervous, please tell us. We can then agree how to work together to make you feel at ease. We can select from a wide range of anxiety and pain-relieving methods to minimise any physical and emotional discomfort. And we like to you ask questions, so please feel free.

Being in control: We want you to feel as in control as possible. If, during any stage of your treatment, you’d like us to stop, then simply raise your hand. We’ll stop immediately and will break for as long as you like.

Local anaesthetic: We rub a local anaesthetic gel onto your gums to start the numbing process. This is especially helpful for hygiene treatments.

Feeling completely numbed: We will always test the numbed area to make sure that you feel nothing. If you feel any discomfort whatsoever during this test, tell us and we’ll give you more anaesthetic.

Dexterity: We’re committed to gentle dentistry. And that means we don’t scrimp on the dexterity. It also means that we’ll be as careful as possible during the procedure so as to minimise any discomfort once the anaesthetic has worn off afterwards.

Treating infections first: An infection can prevent an anaesthetic from working as it should. If this is the case, we’ll give you anti-biotics to treat the infection beforehand.

Sedation If you’d rather be completely unaware of the treatment, we can offer you sedation. You’ll feel drowsy and sleepy but you are still able to talk and co-operate with us. And you will have no recollection of the treatment. Please click here to read about sedation with us.

Distraction: You can now immerse yourself in your favourite DVD with our new goggles. Or you can bring in your favourite music and listen to it on our iPod docking system.

Bring a friend: If a friend can help distract you and put you at ease, please invite them along.




We understand how terrifying a visit to the dentist can be for some people. You may fear the unknown or feel uncomfortable with being in close proximity to someone else or you may have had a bad dental experience in the past.

You are not alone. We are happy to listen to your particular phobia and work out a program to work through it. We take our responsibilities to our patients very seriously. Dr Zenaidy Castro and his team’s approach is based on years of handling sensitive patients and is based on building your trust before he even looks in your mouth. We will let you lead the way.

Some people are happiest just sitting and talking about their concerns and fears. Some people might prefer to have a peek into some of our rooms and slowly build up to letting us have a look in their mouths. And our nurses are particularly warm and gentle. You’ll come out feeling as if you’ve made friends for life.

These are some of the things that are important to us:

– That you feel listened to and respected.
– That you feel in control.
– That you trust us.
– That we won’t pressurise you.
– That we will make your treatment pain free.
– That we make you feel welcome and at home.
– That you won’t be blamed.
– That you think we’re the nice guys.

And we hope that you might even enjoy your time with us.

If you are suffering from Dental Phobia, or have extreme fear and anxiety, Call Vogue Smiles Melbourne 9629-7664 and we can help. We are gentle and have experienced treating Dental Phobics


Managing Dental Phobia & Anxiety

Scared of Going to the Dentist? The Feel Good Guide to going to the Dentist

Many people are scared and nervous of visiting the dentist for various reasons and we aim to make any treatment you choose to have with us completely pain free.We are commited to relax patients and empathise with how they might be feeling. Whereas in the past, dentists were perhaps more concerned with the treatment than with the patients themselves, an attitude shift has seen a move towards a more caring and understanding approach that treats the patient not just the dental concern


Nothing personal Doc – “I hate the Dentist” -The Feel good guide to going to Dentist





Dental Anxiety and Phobia Management


If, like most people, you experience some degree of anxiety when it comes time to see your dentist, the following suggestions can help you to relax before and during dental treatment. What’s important is to recognise your anxiety, accept it as a common reaction to an uncertain situation and learn to master it.

1. Start by sharing your feelings with your dentist and dental hygienist. Let them know that you are fearful, tense, or anxious so that they can tailor their treatment and their pace to your needs. Often, a pain reliever can be given if it’s pain you fear.

2. Set aside a stress-free time for your dental visit – a time when you won’t be rushed, physically strained, or troubled by other concerns.

3. Being friendly and sociable helps establish trust and warmth, both of which can do wonders in allaying your fears and in reducing tension. You might also have a close friend or family member accompany you to your appointment to make you more at ease.

4. Try to identify your specific fears and concerns. While these fears are very understandable, it is important to recognise that they often are not realistic given the modern, pain-free techniques now used in dentistry.

5. Get a good night’s sleep the day before and eat a light breakfast the day of your appointment. To allow unconstrained movement, wear loose, comfortable clothes. Especially avoid wearing constricting necklines, such as tight collars.

6. Schedule short dental appointments by having different procedures performed on different days, if possible. Also arrange to break from lengthy procedures now and then.

7. Use visualisation to feel more comfortable and relaxed both before and during a dental visit. You can focus on a relaxing scene from a favourite vacation spot or activity and hold it before your “mind’s eye” during treatment.

8. During the dental visit, practise distraction and relaxation techniques to take your mind off the treatment and to reduce tension. You might focus, for instance, on such pleasant distractions as soft music or a colorful poster.

9. Ask the dentist or hygienist to explain each step of the dental examination or procedure. The more you know about the reasons for a certain procedure and what will be done during it, the more confident and relaxed you’ll be.

10. Once the dental visit is over, praise yourself for a job well done! You might also treat yourself to a special reward for overcoming your dental anxiety.

If you are suffering from Dental Phobia, or have extreme fear and anxiety, Call Vogue Smiles Melbourne 9629-7664 and we can help. We are gentle and have experienced treating Dental Phobics