If you get nervous when thinking about your next visit to the dentist, you’re not alone. About 20% of Americans actually skip out on the dentist because of fear-related anxieties. Many people experience fear when dealing with any type of dental visit, whether it’s just for a routine check up, or for a more serious issue. Your oral health is an extremely important aspect that can get overlooked and pushed to the side. People who experience dental related fears and anxieties are more susceptible to gum infections, oral pain, and even broken or unsightly teeth. Poor oral health has even been related to other life-threatening conditions like heart disease and lung infections. Here at Smiles by Dr. Santos, we understand that not everyone feels confident when walking into our office. While we’re here to help, here are a few tips and tricks to help make you feel more comfortable when visiting us or any other dentist.


Speaking up about your anxiety can be difficult, but at our office we are able to better cater to your needs if we know what’s going on. Even if you just let one person in the office know your fears, we can help relay that to the dentist and anyone else who may be helping you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions either, there is never a silly question, especially because it is regarding your health. Ask about the process, understanding what is going to be happening might just be the fix to most of you fears. Many people just fear the unknown process, however if you communicate that with your dentist they’ll be able to walk you through the process before and during.

Distract Yourself

Taking your attention off of the exam or entire dental experience is a great way to help ease the anxiety. Simple things like wearing headphones and listening to music or podcasts may be an easy way to calm yourself down. Many times, the overwhelming feeling of fear or anxiety is strictly related to the sounds that surround a dentist appointment. Bring a stress ball or something to hold onto. It may also be helpful if you bring someone with you. This could be a family member or a friend. Most routine dental appointments only take around an hour, so it should be relatively easy to find someone to go with you.

Come Up With A Signal

If you are worried that you aren’t going to make it through an appointment, talk to your dentist before hand about coming up with some sort of signal. It’s probably easier if its a non-verbal signal since your mouth is preoccupied, but whatever you want. This signal could be something as simple as raising your hand, and your dentist will know to stop and that you may need a break. It may seem like a funny request but most dentists will be perfectly fine with this.

Seek Outside Treatment

It might seem like a big stretch, but any type of fear is directly related to the brain. If your fear and anxiety is keeping you from taking care of yourself, it might be helpful to see some sort of therapist or counselor. This fear and anxiety is also likely to get worse over time, so seeking some outside help will be an investment in your overall mental and physical health.

Once again, here at Smiles by Dr. Santos, we want to make your visit as comfortable as possible. If you have any questions about your dental health and tips to conquer dental fear or anxiety, contact us today. We’d be happy to assist you, and if you’re in the Manahawkin area, we’re now accepting new patients!