For Nervous Patients

Is it common to have dental fear and dental anxiety?


Dental fear and dental anxiety are experienced by many. Often times, past experiences play a factor in the feelings you experience today. Whether you had a previous bad dental visit, or a dentist who was unsympathetic, the feelings you have are valid. While these feelings are nothing to be ashamed of, they are many times the driving force for keeping patients away from routine dental care.

At Lincoln Family Dentistry, we feel that no matter what, everyone needs access to dental care. Although you might not realize it, dental fear and dental anxiety can affect your overall health. So, we’re here to help you overcome your dental fear and anxiety. In our article we’ll cover:

-How common is dental anxiety? It’s more common than you think. Read more below!

-How can I reduce dental anxiety? There are several ways and we have listed a few for you to try.


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Statistics show that about 15 percent of Americans suffer from dental fear. Dental anxiety, or dental fear, is more than just the sweaty palms you may get before seeing a dentist. It’s a paralyzing fear of dentists or dental treatment.

If this sounds like you, keep in mind that you don’t have to avoid getting the dental care you need. At Lincoln Family Dentistry, we have the tools, techniques, and caring manner to help you face these dental fears. In the end, we can help you keep your mouth healthy.

It’s easy to blame mom and dad for shortcomings, but what’s really behind dental fear? While many of our views of dental work can be shaped by our families, a recent study at North Carolina University has shown that an individual’s overall anxiety level is actually a better indicator of how a person tends to react at dental visits. With that being said, there are a few other factors that can contribute to dental fear:

  • Prior uncomfortable or negative experiences
  • Feeling helpless or out of control in a dental office situation
  • Feeling embarrassed about neglecting your teeth
  • Fears of being ridiculed about neglecting your teeth

Read a message for patients scared of dentists from Dr. Kelly O’Hara

How Dental Fear and Anxiety Affect Your Overall Health

In the 1997 film “As Good As It Gets,” we see how anxiety disorders can affect an individual’s interpersonal relationships. Dental fear can actually have a similar effect. Skipping regular dental visits leaves your teeth vulnerable to tooth decay. Ultimately, this allows cavities and bad breath to develop. Self-confidence is compromised as a result. Your social interactions tend to follow suit. Ultimately, your fears begin to dictate your social life.

Even more, the physical consequences of a fear of the dentist can be quite serious. Without regular dental visits, your teeth and gums can become chronically infected. Ultimately, this can impact your ability to chew and digest food properly. In addition, it can affect speech patterns. It’s also possible over time, for chronic gum infection to lead to heart disease.

When your anxiety begins to impact your physical well-being, it’s time to re-evaluate. You must find a solution.

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Overcoming fears of the dentist: Live a Better Life

Here are a few methods that we have found to be successful for patients with dental anxiety:

  • Sedation dentistry
  • Yoga techniques for breathing and relaxation
  • Listening to your iPod® during visits
  • Therapy/hypnotherapy sessions

Fearing the dental experience is not insurmountable. Trying some of these methods can help alleviate dental anxiety. Also, keeping in regular contact with your dentist can keep your smile healthy and happy. Schedule an appointment today to get excellent dental care from Lincoln Family Dentistry’s caring dentists. Our dentists often cater to anxious patients.


The information on this page was written by Dr. Kelly O’Hara.

This gentle Lincoln, NE dentists says: “I perform gentle dentistry for the entire family and focus on children’s dentistry, extreme smile makeovers, cosmetic dentistry and placing mercury-free dental fillings. Moreover, I also want to provide a better quality of life to patients who have lost their teeth by making implant retained dentures. I have many goals, but one that is very important to many of us: to keep dentistry affordable by taking all of the primary dental plans and by also offering dental payment plans to patients that seek them. I am fully committed to making sure all patients feel comfortable while in my care.”

You can schedule with this Lincoln, NE dentist, or his partners, online 24/7 at a Lincoln Family Dentistry Location near you. This “dentist near me” serves the local communities close to Lincoln. Some of the communities include Eagle, Walton, Weeping Water, Avoca, and many more!


Check out the “What is Sedation Dentistry?” video.

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