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Help! I'm Really Nervous About My Upcoming Dental Appointment

Sep 01, 2023
Help! I'm Really Nervous About My Upcoming Dental Appointment
Do you dread going to the dentist? Dental anxiety is common and shouldn't prevent you from getting dental care. Learn why it happens and how to work with your dentist to ease your anxiety and improve your oral health.

Oral health care is important for your overall well-being. But if the mere thought of going to the dentist triggers nervousness and anxiety, you're not alone.

Around 36% of Americans have dental anxiety, making routine dental cleanings worrisome. If you dread your upcoming dental appointment, it's time to take back control.

Aditi Saxena, DDS, Ryan Byrne, DDS, and our team at Austin Advanced Dentistry understand dental anxiety, and we're here to calm your nerves. Here's what you need to know about why dental anxiety happens and how to manage it.

Why dental anxiety happens

Dental anxiety is one of the most common fears among American adults, yet the reasons behind it vary widely. A few possible causes are:

Past traumatic experiences

A top cause of dental anxiety is a negative experience. Unfortunately, many people have had painful or uncomfortable dental procedures, which can leave lasting, negative impressions.

Fear of pain

One of the most significant factors contributing to dental anxiety? The fear of experiencing pain during a dental procedure. Many people associate dental work with pain and discomfort, which only heightens nervousness — whether they've had a negative experience in the past or not.

Fear of the unknown

Since you're not a dentist, you probably need to figure out exactly what will happen during your dental appointment. Not knowing what to expect can cause anxiety and fear of unfamiliar instruments, sounds, and sensations.

Loss of control

Sitting in the dental chair with limited control over the situation can also trigger anxiety. You might feel vulnerable and dependent on your dentist's actions, which can be distressing.


Concerns about the appearance of your teeth can also contribute to dental anxiety. Maybe it's been a long time since you went to the dentist, or you're worried about being judged. Whatever the cause, feeling self-conscious about your oral health can make you hesitant to seek dental care.

How to manage dental anxiety

Dental anxiety happens for various reasons and shouldn't keep you from getting the dental care you need. Dr. Saxena and Dr. Byrne are here to work with you and make your experience at the dentist as positive as possible.

We specialize in sedation dentistry to ease anxiety and promote comfort during dental procedures. Sedation dentistry options range from mild sedation to general anesthesia, depending on your needs and the complexity of the procedure.

Don't hesitate to share your fears and concerns before your appointment so that we can customize your experience. We take the time to understand your situation and recommend treatment options to fit your needs.

Along with being open and honest with our team, there are a few other ways to manage dental anxiety. Implement relaxation techniques, like meditation or progressive muscle relaxation, to help reduce stress and create a sense of calm.

Consider bringing a support person with you to your dental appointment. Having someone familiar by your side can help distract you from your anxiety and provide comfort and reassurance.

Finally, ask our team about distractions. Depending on your procedure, you can listen to music or watch a movie to help redirect your focus away from your dental work.

Dental anxiety is common. But it shouldn’t deter you from seeking essential dental care — and you shouldn’t be embarrassed about it. Our team is here to support you, so contact us online or call 512-886-6734 to learn more about your options.

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