How to Help Ease Dental Anxiety (In Kids and Adults)

It can be hard to admit, but dental anxiety in adults is not that uncommon. Studies show that about 19% of people have moderate anxiety related to going to the dentist, while nearly 7% experience severe stress when faced with an appointment.

At Newtown Dentistry, we strive to create a welcoming environment that’s unlike anything you’ve experienced at another dental office. We take the fear and anxiety out of regular dental care, for both adults and kids.

Are You Scared of the Dentist?

The statistics that describe negative reactions to dental care show that people become less fearful as they age. In spite of that last fact, many adults still dread going to the dentist and evade or skip appointments as a result.

Avoiding routine dental care can lead to major oral health problems but also other serious issues. Poor oral health correlates with cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, endocarditis, and birth and pregnancy complications.

 A young dental patient picks a toy from a basket after her appointment.

People cite several reasons for fearing the dentist, including:

  • A general fear and anxiety about the upcoming experience and what it will be like
  • Past bad experiences at a dentist’s office
  • Worries about the costs of dental care
  • Fear of getting bad news during an appointment
  • Fear and anticipation of the gag reflex during cleaning and exams

Signs and Symptoms of Dental Fear in Children

You know whether or not you have anxiety or dread when going to the dentist, but how about a child? They won’t necessarily tell you, so look for signs and clues your child might be worried about their next dental appointment:

The inside of a dental exam room mimics a ski lodge with mountain scenes, a bench, and hot chocolate.

  • Avoidance of appointments; for instance, faking illness to get out of one
  • Throwing tantrums before going to the dentist
  • Signs of stress before an appointment, such as mood swings, acting out, or clinginess
  • Past bad experiences at a dentist’s office

A child’s fear of anything often reflects their parents’ attitudes. One of the best ways you can help them is to model brave behavior. Emphasize the benefits of regular dental care and prepare your child for what to expect.

How to Not Be Scared of the Dentist – Coping Skills

Past bad experiences can be tough to forget, but for most adults and children, it is possible to cope with and overcome dental fears. Start by talking to the dental team about your or your child’s worries. They’ve heard it all and have solutions to make the experience better. Here are some other things you can do to cope with anxiety and fear:

  • Find out what to expect in advance of your appointment. Knowing what will happen helps allay fears for children and adults.
  • Use distractions to keep fear at bay. A stress ball, headphones with your favorite music, and visualizing yourself somewhere else can all help.
  • Practice deep breathing exercises to relax. Anxiety and worry tense up the body, which only increases mental distress. Use focused breathing, meditation, and muscle relaxation strategies to drain the tension from your body and mind.

How Newtown Helps Patients with Dental Anxiety

The waiting room of a pediatric dental office contains a play structure and picnic area.

The team at Newtown Dentistry takes pride in offering an anxiety-free dental experience. From the moment patients walk through the doors, they notice the atmosphere is different. Instead of sitting in a cold, clinical exam room, patients experience a cozy ski lodge or a day at the beach. Take a virtual tour to see what we mean:

For kids, we offer a fun, playful, and welcoming environment to which most of our patients are eager to return for their next appointment. Our pediatric dentist, Dr. Christine Landes, has years of experience making children feel comfortable.

Top-quality dental care is the first priority for our pediatric patients, but we do more than that. We offer toys, fun, education, and a deep understanding of how kids think and the worries they have.

If you or your child—or both of you—experience dental fear or anxiety, check out Newtown Dentistry adult and kid services.

  • AUTHOR

    Newtown Dentistry

  • DATE

    August 10, 2022

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