Woman fist bumping hygienist after a successful visit

Overcoming Dental Anxiety: Techniques And Strategies

If you have dental anxiety, you may delay or avoid the necessary treatments. Ultimately, you could be putting your oral and general health at risk. 

At Avalon Family Dentistry, we don’t want you to develop gum disease or suffer from a severe toothache in silence. 

That’s why we’re encouraging you to visit our office despite any fear or hesitation. Keep reading for tips for overcoming dental anxiety. 

How dental anxiety affects your health

First and foremost, if you’re avoiding the dentist because of dental anxiety, you may not receive routine cleanings and other preventative care. 

You may also avoid necessary treatments, which can leave you contending with pain or requiring a more extensive and/or expensive treatment in the future

Some examples of issues that could occur from avoiding the dentist include:

  • Cavities
  • Gum recession 
  • Gum disease
  • Discolored teeth
  • Chipped or otherwise broken teeth
  • Tooth loss

Pregnant women are at risk of having a low birth weight baby or premature delivery

Moreover, according to Harvard Health, a publication by Harvard Medical School, your risk of a stroke, heart attack, or other major cardiovascular event is two to three times greater if you have gum disease. 

Endocarditis—swelling of the lining of your heart valves or heart chambers—is possible, too. 

You could also develop pneumonia or other respiratory illnesses or diseases if bacteria from your mouth enter your lungs. 

Identify your fear! Recognizing your fear is the first step

Before you conquer your fear, you have to know the cause

Keep in mind that sometimes multiple reasons are to blame


Some believe the dentist is going to be painful.  

Perhaps this idea dates back to when dentists used alcohol to ease the pain, and treatments were primitive and not designed with comfort in mind. 

With modern technology and dental advancements, this is certainly not the case today.

Loss of control & fear of the unknown

Some people feel vulnerable in the dentist’s chair because they’re not in control. 

Some people, especially if they haven’t had a particular treatment before, may have worries because they don’t know what to expect. 

Embarrassment about dental health

In some cases, the fear is an embarrassment because the individual didn’t care for their teeth or hasn’t visited the dentist every six months as recommended.

They may worry the dentist will lecture or judge them. 

That’s certainly not the case in our care.

Bad experience in the past

A previous dentist may not have been gentle and understanding. 

One may have been judgemental. 

The dentist may have made an error. 

No matter the case, it’s possible you don’t want to venture to the dentist because of a bad past experience. 

Just because you had a bad experience in the past doesn’t mean you will again. 

Dr. Hannah Doan and Dr. Josephine Lee go above and beyond to make your experience with us a positive one. 

You deserve better

We believe you should be a priority and take every step possible to make the visit as easy and stress-free as we can. 

For instance, our dentist considers this a “judgment-free zone.”

We only want to help you get back on track with your oral health, no matter how far off the trail you strayed. 

Our goal is to ease any discomfort, so our dentists take a gentle approach and find the right anesthetic for your needs. 

6 tricks for overcoming your dental anxiety

Besides what we do to ease your fears and anxiety, you can take steps to overcome dental anxiety as well. 

Find the right dentist

The right dentist makes all the difference in the world when it comes to easing anxiety. 

You need someone you can confide in who can make you feel calm, cool, and collected.

We recommend looking at patient reviews and checking out their websites. See if the practitioner’s views align with yours. 

Aim for a dentist’s office with a comfortable atmosphere. 

Once you narrow down your options, schedule a visit and see for yourself. 

Use relaxation techniques and medications

Luckily, nowadays, the treatments are comfortable. 

And when you have a dentist like Dr. Doan or Dr. Lee, who takes a gentle approach, it enhances the comfort of visits even further, even for dental procedures. 

However, we understand that’s not enough in many cases. 

Fortunately, we offer medications, such as sedatives to calm you or anesthetics to numb any pain. 

Let us know your fears, and we can determine an ideal option for you from our selection of oral sedation and nitrous.

You could also try meditation before you arrive or use deep breathing techniques when you’re in our office. 

Bring a friend

Bring a family member or friend with you to hold your hand or calm your fears. 

They could even be in the room with you during the procedure. 

Arrive early

Leaving at the last minute for your appointment will only contribute to your stress. Arriving early will give you time to complete your medical history report before the dentist is ready to see you. 

Arrive 10 or 15 minutes early so you can look around, have a few moments to relax, or ask any questions you may have. 

Let your dentist know

We won’t know about your dental fears unless you tell us, and we can’t help you with overcoming dental anxiety if we don’t know about it. 

So, please inform us at your appointment that you have dental anxiety. 

We’ve seen it before and want to help you feel less apprehensive when you’re in our care. 

Ask lots of questions

We want you to speak up. 

If you have questions, ask. 

Maybe you have a concern. Let us know. 

VIDEO GALLERY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzE0d5bjqTY 

For some practical advice on dental anxiety, check out our video.

We’re here to help!

Our dentists and the rest of the team at Avalon Family Dentistry want to see you smile brightly with healthy teeth and gums, even if you’re struggling with overcoming dental anxiety. 

We’re patient-oriented and take every step possible to calm patient’s nerves and put their minds at ease, making going to the dentist better for everyone, particularly those with dental anxiety. 

Patient education and working with our patients can change those negative feelings into positive ones you want to return to experience again!

If you have questions or would like to schedule your first visit to get to know us, call or send a message today.  


We’re proud to call Federal Way our home, but we’re also excited that our location gives those in Auburn, Edgewood, Kent, Lakeland North, Lakeland South, Kent, Fife Heights, Des Moines, and Lea Hill access to our care!