(319) 377-1300

Combatting Dental Anxiety

Posted on: October 27th, 2021 by | No Comments

Does your child freak out at the dentist’s office? Are you afraid of going to the dentist? If so, you and your child are not alone! Some statistics show that 25 percent or more of the population has dental anxiety or fear of the dentist. It is common to be afraid or anxious about dental visits. Here at Uptown Dental, we would like to reduce your anxiety so you can be more comfortable and at ease when you visit us. We’ll work with you to accommodate you and your family with compassionate care and gentle dental treatments.

Why People Fear Dentists

Children, as well as adults, can develop fear and anxiety related to professional dental care. There can be a lot of reasons for dental anxiety. It may be related to a bad experience at the dentist’s office, or it may be because you haven’t been to the dentist in a long time. Children can be apprehensive about what the dentist and hygienist will do. Here are a few things people may be scared or anxious about:

  • Pain
  • Needles
  • Cavities
  • Embarrassment
  • Intense Lights and Sounds
  • Gagging
  • Uncertainty

At Uptown Dental, we understand that many people are anxious, and our goal is to make your experience as pleasant as possible. We use minimally invasive techniques for dental care, from cleaning your teeth to taking x-rays to flossing. Numbing agents can be used to ease discomfort, and light sedation is also an option.

We would be happy to help you address anxiety by answering questions and working with you to ease your mind. To that end, please let us know if you or your child has dental anxiety, and look at the following tips for you and your kids.

Tips for Helping Kids with Dental Anxiety

  1. Model calm behavior for your children. One of the best things you can do for your kids is to show them that going to the dentist is no big deal. When they see your open, accepting approach, they will be more inclined to follow suit.
  2. Talk to them honestly about the dentist. If your child talks about being scared, ask them what scares them. It may help to make a list together and validate their feelings. Let them know that it is okay to be anxious, but that you will be with them during their visit.
  3. Tell the dentist about their anxiety. At Uptown Dental, we accommodate fearful and anxious patients by taking extra time to explain what we’re doing. With children, we are very mindful of making sure they understand what we do.
  4. Teach them a mindfulness technique. Slow, steady breathing can be a huge help in reducing anxious feelings. Practice a series of slow in and out breaths with him or her. Visualization of their favorite place can also be helpful. Again, practice this with them so they have tools for coping when they are in the dental chair.
  5. Make sure they are well-rested. A tired child will be more prone to anxiety and fear than one who received a good night of sleep.
  6. Do something fun. Reward your child for going to the dentist with a sticker, treat, or fun activity. Just knowing they can do something fun with you after the appointment may distract them from their fears.

Tips for Adults with Dental Anxiety

  1. Do something relaxing prior to your dental appointment. Take a walk, go shopping, practice yoga, listen to music, or make an art or craft—anything you find calming that takes your mind off the appointment.
  2. Talk to your dentist and hygienist. Asking questions about your care and providing feedback to the team can make you feel supported and validated. Let us know how we can help you relieve your anxiety.
  3. Breathe or visualize. Find your happy place mentally through simple breathing and visualization techniques.
  4. Ask for what you need. During your visit, let us know what you need. If you want to take a short break, tell us. If you’re cold, we will provide a blanket. We want your visit to be as comfortable as possible.
  5. Reward yourself. After your visit, pat yourself on the back! Consider ways to reward yourself for a job well done, such as a trip to the coffee shop.

Dental Anxiety is Widespread

Dental anxiety is so prevalent, that there is a website all about it! At, you can learn more about dental anxiety and dental phobias.

Uptown Dental invites you to contact us about dental anxiety you or your children experience. We appreciate your trust in our dentists, dental assistants and dental hygienists and look forward to seeing you and talking with you about your dental health. Please call us to learn more about how we can help you be more comfortable at your upcoming dental visit.