Case Study: Conquering Dental Anxiety

Peter's journey from anxiety to full confidence

For many people, going to the dentist is an unpleasant but manageable experience.

For others, just the thought of going to the dentist causes severe anxiety, leading them to delay or avoid dental treatment.

We understand that many patients struggle with this, but please remember that you’re not alone. Here’s how we helped Peter overcome this barrier.

For years, Peter felt judged for not keeping up with his dental problems, preventing him from visiting his dentist.

Unfortunately, this behavior can spiral into a vicious cycle of dental pain, health problems, deeper anxiety, and potentially more complex and costly dental procedures.

“I was afraid of being judged and even opening my mouth.
I had been afraid to smile for years.”

Peter’s problems

Peter’s first meeting with Dr. Simon and the team was about helping him feel comfortable and at ease with his surroundings.

“When I first walked in for my initial appointment, I was greeted by a group of smiling faces. I felt like I was at home.”

Our first consultation included a full evaluation of Peter’s oral health.

Dr. Simon discovered that Peter was a grinder, and his front teeth had suffered over the years without treatment, in addition to his several missing teeth.

With these issues, his dental anxiety prevented Peter from asking for help.

Once the evaluation was completed, Dr.Simon explained in detail the procedures and possible timeline for what was required.

Peter was encouraged to ask as many questions as he felt comfortable with.

“I was presented with all the options available to me.
We discussed the clinical options as well as the financial options.”

Besides his dental anxiety, Peter was also worried about the costs.

This was the easier problem to fix as Peter was offered several finance options.

“I felt at ease and comfortable and let it all go from there.”

Peter’s personal dental plan

  • Replace missing teeth
  • Restore damaged front teeth
  • Find suitable means to prevent further grinding
  • Discover and use suitable methods for dealing with dental anxiety

Dr. Simon’s main concern was to address the cause of Peter’s anxiety, as this impacts all other treatments.

There are many reasons that you might fear the dentist.

Dental anxiety often stems from:

  • Worry that your treatment will be painful and uncomfortable
  • Fear of shots and the thought that they might not work
  • Panic when you hear the sound of the drill
  • The nervousness of having someone working in your mouth
  • The embarrassment that you haven’t taken care of your teeth
  • A painful experience in the dental chair when you were young

Regardless of the cause of your fear, your dental health is critical to your overall health.

What happens if you don’t see a dentist?

Visiting a dentist at least once every 6 months for routine cleaning and examination is incredibly important. Failing to keep up with dental hygiene and regular appointments can lead to:

  • Bad breath
  • Cavities
  • Plaque and tartar
  • Tooth loss
  • Gum Disease
  • Infected teeth
  • Discolored teeth

However, even if you haven’t seen a dentist in a while, you shouldn’t let that get between you and the treatment you need.

We’re here to help, and we’ll never judge you, no matter what condition your teeth are in.

Symptoms of dental anxiety

How do you know if you have dental anxiety?

Some people living with dental anxiety can experience distressing symptoms before appointments. For example:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Panic attacks
  • Low blood pressure
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Extreme sweating
  • Crying
  • Feeling faint
  • Constant avoidance

Peter had a lot to deal with, and he was incredibly brave to come in and have a full discussion with our dentist.

Discussing his fears with Dr. Simon was key to Peter’s coping with dental anxiety.

Peter is now happy with his new smile and renewed confidence.

Your dentist will be able to work with you to determine the best ways to make you less anxious and more comfortable.

Our tips for dealing with dental anxiety

Don’t hesitate to communicate your concerns to your dentist.

They can take steps to make the process easier, prioritize your comfort, and answer any questions you may have.

Ask about amenities to help you relax and feel more comfortable at  your appointment:

  • Television
  • Music
  • Warm blanket

Remember, your dentist just wants to help; there’s nothing wrong with asking!

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Ask the dentist to explain what they’re doing throughout the procedure. Your dentist will be more than happy to discuss the components of your treatment.

If you understand the procedure, you may feel less anxiety. We tend to fear what we don’t know or understand, after all.

Ask for appropriate sedation options.

Many patients appreciate the calming quality of nitrous oxide and oral sedatives. Snoozing your way through a complicated dental procedure might even be possible, which can often leave you with little to no memory of your treatment.

Arrive on time, but not too soon.

The last thing you need is a lengthy waiting-room experience to let your anxiety stew. Try to arrive five or so minutes before your appointment, and consider bringing distractions (whether it be a magazine or phone).

Take breaks

Ask to stop whenever you feel you need a break. A sensitive dental team will give you time to relax when necessary; you don’t need to do your treatment all at once.

Book your appointment before you leave the office

It’s much easier to stick to a follow-up appointment if you don’t have to contact the office to schedule it.


Dental anxiety is common, but there are ways to help you manage it.

Midtown Dental Excellence is intended as a welcoming place that painlessly keeps your smile bright and healthy.

Use our dental anxiety tips as a safety blanket to guide you through your next dental experience. You’ll enjoy a beautiful and healthy smile in return.

If anxiety prevents you from coming to Midtown Dental Excellence, there are always methods to help you cope.

Talk to our team at Midtown Dental Excellence about which options are right for you today.

Midtown Dental Excellence is proud to offer professional and caring dentistry for patients in Manhattan, MidTown East, and Upper East side New York, NY.

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *