How To Manage Dental Anxiety

Some useful tips for our nervous Chelmsford patients

nervousDental phobia is very common and you are certainly not alone. Some nervous patients also feel a little embarrassed as they sit in the chair whilst being examined or treated but believe us, we are used to it and it isn’t unusual for a dentist to be nervous when it comes to their turn in the chair either!

There are many theories as to why going to the dentist causes so much anxiety, but there is a general consensus that the fact that the mouth is near all the other sensory abilities such as sight, hearing etc probably makes this such an issue. You wouldn’t perhaps, feel so anxious if it was your foot that was being attended to.

Knowing the reasons and the fact that you are not alone probably does little to ease your own anxiety though and as regular dental care is so important, our Blue Sky dentists have put together a few suggestions that might help you to manage, and even possibly overcome, your own anxiety.

Find the right dentist for you

This one isn’t always easy and not because of the dentist’s skill but because of the way that we respond differently to people. A simple example would be that some people like a dentist that really takes their time and is as gentle as possible whilst others might prefer one who is still good at his job but does what they can to finish the treatment safely but as quickly as possible. Some also prefer a ‘chatty’ dentist, whilst others appreciate less conversation. We have a large clinical team at our Chelmsford practice and are happy to help nervous patients find a dentist that feels most comfortable for them.


Some patients tell us that waiting to go into the treatment room is one of the worst parts of their dental visits. It is often true that what we imagine will happen is far worse than what does. The more time we have to think about this, the worse it is likely to get. Although we do try to keep your appointment time as accurate as we can, dental emergencies can arise and cause small delays. Bringing a book or your favourite music (with headphones) might help to distract you. Depending on the treatment required, the dentist may also allow you to wear your headphones during the treatment too, but please do ask.

Bring a friend

Similar to the above, you might want to bring a friend with you to keep you occupied. It might even be possible for them to accompany you into the treatment room although this is generally discouraged and especially during the current Covid restrictions. If you wish to do this, please contact us in advance to request it and don’t simply turn up for your appointment expecting it.

Mantras or songs

Once your mouth is open and you are receiving treatment, or even being examined, your options are limited and you mostly won’t be able to move your mouth much at all. You could though have a mantra or a song that you repeat in your head during the treatment. Something simple that can be repeated over and over is most useful. Some patients find that this works to distract them until the treatment is over.

Discuss your treatment

This isn’t suitable for everybody and some patients might prefer not to understand their treatment and what will happen during it. For others though, this can be very helpful. Knowing what a certain sound is and what is happening can relieve any anxiety in the same way that knowing a plane’s reverse thrust on landing is to slow the plane down and that it isn’t about to explode helps nervous flyers. If you would like to know more about your treatment, our friendly dental team will be happy to help.

Plan a reward for yourself

However much you worry about your treatment, the reality is that it almost certainly won’t be anywhere near as bad as you expect and will also be over a lot quicker too. However scared you were, you won’t have to worry about it for some time so why not reward yourself with something. Planning this in your head during treatment might help as well. If the treatment received means that you might need to relax for a day or two, then perhaps treat yourself to a favourite book. For more routine treatments or even examinations (which can produce anxiety for some) perhaps treat yourself to a nice coffee and cake, and yes, we know sugar is bad for you but we will forgive you this once!

Our Blue Sky Dental team do understand that you might be feeling nervous or anxious about your visit and we will do all that we can to make you feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible. If you have any particular concerns before your appointment, you can call our Chelmsford clinic in advance on 01245 211070.

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