Managing Fear Of The Dentist

Some tips and advice for our Canterbury patients on how to make dental visits less stressful

Nervous dental patientWhen we write our blogs, we know that some of them might only appeal to a relatively small number of you at any given time. For example, only a small percentage of you may be looking at ways to replace a missing tooth at that particular time. One topic that we do know will be of interest to a large number of you though, is dental anxiety.

Dental phobia is very common and probably almost as common as a fear of flying. There can be varying degrees of it though and most patients probably feel at least a tinge of apprehension when they come for an appointment. This level of anxiety is rarely enough to make them cancel their appointment however, and they will be able to receive the necessary care and attention.

Like at all dental practices, some patients of Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic will suffer from quite extensive levels of anxiety and this can lead them to avoid appointments, especially when they know that a treatment is going to take place. As we know, delaying treatment will only make the situation worse, with more extensive treatment almost certainly needed later on.

In today’s blog then, we are going to offer some hopefully useful tips which, whilst not probably completely eliminating all anxiety, should do so enough for you to receive your treatment in a reasonably relaxed manner.

Find your dentist

We know that different people will ‘click’ with certain dentists and not so much with others. We have many highly qualified and friendly dentists within our Canterbury practice and we are happy to help you to find the right one for you. For example, some patients are relaxed by a dentist who has a ‘chatty’ manner with their patients whilst others would rather they say as little as possible and get on with it. Neither approach is bad but it affects different people in different ways.

Bring something to help distract you

There are typically two parts of the dental visit which patients find most anxiety inducing; when you are waiting in the waiting room and once you are in the chair. Whilst we do all that we can to ensure that you are seen by the dentist as quickly as possible, sometimes delays do happen, often caused by an unforseen dental emergency. We do provide magazines in our waiting room but you might wish to bring a favourite book of your own, or even some music. Please do make sure that you use headphones though.

The musical option can also be used during your treatment. You will need to ask the dentist though and issues such as trailing leads to the headphones will need to be sorted out so they don’t get in the way. Some treatments may also require more extensive communication between patient and dentist. Do ask though if you feel that this will help you to feel more relaxed.

Other distraction techniques

If you find that you are anxious even before you leave your home for your appointment, why not look into some relaxation exercises? These can range from some rather painful looking yoga techniques to very simple breathing exercises. These can be very useful for ‘grounding’ you before your appointment and the breathing exercises may also help during the treatment itself. Some patients have told us that they have a mantra or phrase that they repeat over and again in their head whilst the treatment is happening. You might need to experiment to find what is right for you but this might help.

Understand your treatment (if you want)

This one isn’t for everybody and some patients simply don’t want to know what their treatment will entail. This is understandable but if you are one of those people who ‘Google’ the procedure, you may well increase your anxiety as, quite frankly, there is a lot of rubbish on the internet that is designed to scare you. Don’t take advice or ask questions on forums as people always like to discuss worse case scenarios. If you do want to know what will happen during your treatment, please ask the dentist. Our team are always happy to help you understand what they will be doing and what you might feel during the treatment.


Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic is proud to have the services of Andrea Wraith, a well-known person in the field of sedation dentistry. This is an option for patients who have very high levels of anxiety and can enable them to have essential treatment to help them maintain good oral health. It is also a useful option for procedures that can last for longer periods of time, such as teeth implant placements. If you feel that you would benefit from this, we are always happy to discuss this with you.

We hope that this blog helps you to overcome or at least manage your dental anxiety. Remember, we see many nervous patients on a daily basis and you are most certainly not alone. If you have anything that you would like to discuss with us prior to your appointment, please do feel free to call us at our Canterbury dental clinic on 01227 463529.