How to Overcome Dental Anxiety

Female doctor consulting patientDental anxiety comes in many forms from feeling slightly anxious about visiting the dentist right through to full-blown dental phobia where even the thought of the dentist is more than you can handle.

Dental anxiety is one of the largest contributors to people not visiting the dentist which, in turn, can lead to a reduction in your overall dental health, dental disease and ultimately tooth loss if things go unchecked.

This post is here to help you overcome your anxiety using a range of psychological and physical techniques.

Talking Therapies Including Hypnosis and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)


Hypnosis is essentially a state of deep relaxation, to show how successful this can be Dr Mike Gow Successfully used hypnosis during an extraction and placement of dental implants on a patient in 2007. No anaesthetic was used.

This shows the immense power of hypnosis to enable you to control your state and even pain! We know that many people reading this blog post may be fearful of the dentist so we have not embedded video here, however, if you feel up to watching you can watch it on YouTube.


Cognitive behavioural therapy could help many people with a dental phobia overcome their fear of visiting the dentist and enable them to receive dental treatment without the need to be sedated, according to a new study by King’s College London. 

Patients with dental phobia were able to face down their fear after an average five sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), a study found.

Professor Tim Newton, who led the King’s College team, said: “People with dental phobia are most commonly given sedation to allow them to become relaxed enough for a short period of time to have their dental treatment performed. However this does not help them to overcome their fear in the long term.

“The primary goal of our CBT service is to enable patients to receive dental treatment without the need for sedation, by working with each individual patient to set goals according to their priorities. Our study shows that after on average five CBT sessions, most people can go on to be treated by the dentist without the need to be sedated.”

Physical aids to overcoming dental anxiety

The Wand Dental Injections

The Wand painless injection system was developed to replace the traditional syringe in dentistry. As much of a revolution as an evolution, this computer controlled anaesthetic delivery system is a logical progression from the syringe which has seen little change since its invention more than 150 years ago.

With The Wand, dentists can bring one of dentistry’s last remaining antiquated designs into the 21st century.

How does it work?Wand_handpiece_reduced

The Wand uses a small hand piece that looks like a pen.

The Wand gives a supply of anaesthetic in a slow comfortable manner.

The Wand uses a unique new technology, which is unlike any other.

The Wand works at a low pressure and a slow rate that gives an improved anaesthesia.

The Wand works more effectively, resulting in a more pleasant experience

Dental sedation

Dental sedation can also be used to help you relax a dentist, sedation typically comes in three forms

  1. Oral sedation.
  2. Inhalation sedation.
  3. Intravenous sedation.

Oral sedation can normally be provided by most dental practices allowing you to take the tablets couple of hours before you go to visit the dentist whilst you were still at home. You will normally advised to have a chaperone with you to ensure you get there and back safely.

Inhalation sedation involves you breathing in happy gas or nitrous oxide during treatment, it allows you to float away into a dreamland very quickly. One of the biggest advantages with inhalation sedation is that the effects wear off very quickly, this means that if you decide you don’t like the effects, you simply stop breathing the gas and return to normal within a few moments.

Intravenous sedation can also be given. This often involves an anaesthetist being present during your dental treatment which can add to the cost. Intravenous sedation means you can completely drift off into your own dreamers like state was the dental treatment is carried out. You will need someone to visit the dentist with you to ensure you get home safely afterwards.

You should not drink, drive or operate machinery after sedation.

Dr Hussein at The Sandford Clinic in Bexleyheath says:

Being anxious about dental treatment is how most people feel. If visiting a dentist causes you extreme anxiety, please rest assured that you’re not alone. If you have an extreme fear causing you to experience unusual distress, you may be dental phobic.

At The Sandford you will experience gentle dentistry provided by a caring and well trained team of professionals to help you overcome your fears and get you on track for healthy teeth.


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