Dental Anxiety: How to Overcome Fear of the Dentist

If you have trouble booking that much-needed dental visit, rest assured you are not alone. Many people, of all ages, suffer from some form of dental anxiety that prevents them from getting the quality dental care they deserve. 


Here you can find a detailed guide on how to overcome your fear of the dentist, from practical tips to understanding whether sedation dentistry is right for you. Whether you’re the parent of a child learning how to cope with dental anxiety or find yourself postponing essential dental appointments due to a long-standing fear, let’s overcome this fear for a healthier oral future.

How Common is Dental Anxiety?

Anxiety about the dentist is not a rare phenomenon. With varying estimates between 36% and 50% of the population suffering from a level of stress when considering a dental visit, many people are avoiding their dentist due to dental phobia or anxiety. 

The issue is that neglecting preventive care and necessary treatments risks both your dental and overall health, resulting in stained teeth, fractures, gum disease, and even tooth loss. If left untreated, symptoms of various issues like sleep apnea, and oral cancer may go undetected. Regular dental visits are crucial for early treatment, ensuring a healthy smile and a positive dental experience.

Common Fears in Children and Adults


Young children and teenagers tend to have varying reasons for fearing the dentist, so teaching them how to cope with anxiety is essential.

  • Fear of the Unknown: Unfamiliarity breeds fear in children, so the bright lights of the dental clinic can be overwhelming.
  • Pain Perception: The fear of pain, either real or imagined, is a common factor. Children may have heard stories that created an apprehension about dental procedures.
  • Loss of Control: Children fear the loss of control during dental procedures, like adults, and the perceived helplessness can amplify anxiety.


Grown-ups wonder ‘how common is dental anxiety?”, but the reality is a host of reasons can create a fear of the dentist in adults.

  • Past Traumatic Experiences: Anyone who has undergone painful or distressing dental treatments in the past may carry the scars, creating fear about future visits.
  • Fear of Pain: Many adults fear the discomfort associated with dental procedures, deterring them from seeking necessary care.
  • Anxiety Disorders: General anxiety disorders can exacerbate anxiety about dentists, making routine check-ups a daunting prospect.

How to Cope with Dental Anxiety

1. Open Communication

For parents, do your best to have open communication with your children, and explain what a dental visit involves in a positive and age-appropriate manner. Be careful not to give too many unnecessary details, as this can increase anxiety, especially in younger children.

As a grown up you should discuss any fears with your dentist, who is experienced in the field and can create a tailored approach to help you.

2. Familiarisation

For children, taking a pre-visit to the dental clinic can massively help demystify the environment, and make it less intimidating. Reassure your young ones that a parent can be present at their appointment, to keep an eye on what’s happening. 

Adults can benefit from touring the clinic, as familiarising yourself with the surroundings often alleviates anxiety, as well as meeting your dentist for a consultation first, before any procedure takes place.

We suggest that parents bring their children to their own general dental appointments (think check-ups, dental exams or cleans) to make them feel more familiar and comfortable with visiting the dentist. When the child’s first dentist appointment comes around, the loud suction sounds and tilted back chair will be less daunting. 

3. Choose a Gentle Dentist

Find a caring dentist who has experience in treating anxious children, as a compassionate and gentle approach can greatly ease fears and prevent the need for seeing a paediatric dentist. Our principal dentist, Dr Lyndon Abreu, has an incredibly caring nature and extensive experience treating patients struggling with dental anxiety, young children and the elderly. 

Adults should take the time to choose a considerate and patient-centric dental clinic, who have experienced dealing with dental anxiety and easing stress.

4. Relaxation Techniques

It can be worthwhile to find a dentist with TVs installed in the ceiling – a great distraction to focus on when undergoing a procedure or even a routine checkup. At Midland Dental Hub, we have TVs installed in the ceilings to assist with patient relaxation. 

Deep breathing exercises and relaxation techniques such as meditation can benefit both children and adults in managing anxiety before and during dental procedures. Try bringing headphones to your next appointment, as listening to music can be very relaxing. 

5. Gradual Exposure

By starting with less invasive treatments, gentle and gradual exposure to dental procedures can help build confidence in both children and adults.

6. Sedation Dentistry

If you are struggling with how to cope with dental anxiety, speak to your dental practitioner about sedation dentistry. With options like oral sedation, nitrous oxide, IV sedation, and general anaesthesia, it can help patients relax during dental procedures.

Key Expert Services to Choose From

Now you are on your way to overcoming your fear of the dentist, it’s worth learning about the various professional exercises you can benefit from:


  • General Dentistry – Providing comprehensive dental care, our general and preventative dentistry services cover routine check-ups, cleanings, and treatments like fillings and extractions, for long-term oral health.
  • Childrens’ Dentistry – From checkups to preventative dentistry, trusted dental clinics prioritise gentle care and education for a positive dental experience for children.
  • Cosmetic Dentistry – Transforming smiles, our cosmetic dentistry services include teeth whitening, veneers, crowns, bridges, dental implants, Invisalign treatments, and more.
  • Urgent Care – For prompt dental care and immediate relief, emergency dentistry services address urgent dental issues such as a knocked out tooth, toothaches, and urgent root canals.
  • Sedation Dentistry – Catering to anxious patients, our sedation dentistry offers comfort and relaxation during dental treatments.

Embrace a Fear-Free Dental Journey

So, how common is dental anxiety? The answer may be quite common, but it is absolutely beatable. By understanding its roots and learning practical strategies, both parents and children can navigate the path to a stress-free dental experience. 

Remember, a healthy smile begins with overcoming fears and prioritising oral health. Take the first step towards anxiety-free dental care with Midland Dental Hub, your partner in optimal oral well-being.

Midland Dental Hub – Your Partner in Overcoming Dental Anxiety

At Midland Dental Hub in Perth, we understand the complexities of dealing with dental anxiety and strive to create a welcoming and comforting environment for our patients. Our comprehensive range of dental services can address your specific needs – from professional general dentistry services to anxiety-friendly adult treatments, our team is dedicated to ensuring every visit is positive and stress-free!

Contact Midland Dental Hub today to schedule your appointment and rediscover the joy of a healthy smile.

Book Your Appointment Today