Dental anxiety & phobias: how we can help

Feeling anxious about your dental visit?

Dental anxiety, or a fear of the dentist is not that uncommon. But the good news is there are many ways we can help — so it shouldn’t get in the way of you maintaining excellent oral health.

What is dental anxiety?

Dental anxiety is as it sounds — it’s fear, stress or anxiety associated with any part of the dental setting. It may be caused by past experiences, such as poor or traumatic dental experiences, a previous trauma to the mouth or head, or previous abuse (e.g. childhood abuse).

Dental anxiety may also be linked to psychological conditions such as a generalised anxiety disorder, phobias, PTSD — or issues around trust and privacy, as your mouth is a very private space.

How we can help you

First up, don’t be shy about your anxiety — give us a call and let us know how you’re feeling before your appointment. Then, when you’re at the clinic, you can discuss your concerns with the dentist or hygienist. We can help you manage your anxiety in various ways:

  • Oral medications: With prior notice, we can offer you a sedating medication in tablet form that will put you at ease.
  • Nitrous oxide (happy/laughing gas) – For a small fee, you can lie back and be administered happy gas. We’ll fit a mask to your face and ask you to breathe a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide. Within minutes, you’ll drift away to a very pleasant, relaxed state, free of worry, while remaining conscious. At the end of the treatment, we’ll stop the gas, and you’ll be back to your normal self in minutes and be able to drive home.
  • IV sedation (intravenous sedation) – This treatment is usually reserved for intense and lengthy dental procedures and requires an anaesthetist. It will allow you to drift off to a peaceful, relaxed state. Afterwards, you’ll have no recollection of your treatment.

Talk to our friendly team at Mills Road Dental Centre about how we can put you at ease.