How To Deal With Dental Anxiety During Pandemic

How To Deal With Dental Anxiety During Pandemic

Many people are affected by dental anxiety that ranges from mild fear to significant phobia. In some cases, people are unwilling to get help for dental care; such is their fear. The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened these fears as there are added concerns about infection and delays in seeking help. Here’s how to deal with dental anxiety during the pandemic.

What is Dental Anxiety?

Being afraid of the dentist is nothing new. Up to 20 percent of Australian people are thought to have a fear of visiting the dentist. Dental anxiety is when someone is afraid or anxious about visiting the dentist. Their fear can be triggered by several things, from pain to noise, needles and smells, and even sitting in the examining chair. Dental anxiety is different from phobia because people with phobias have a deep-rooted fear that may take other professionals to treat. 

Dental anxiety is a serious issue because it can lead to people not getting help when they need it, and a minor problem can quickly turn into a significant infection. Learning how to deal with dental anxiety could prevent pain, infection, or even tooth loss.

What are some of the causes of dental anxiety?

Several things can trigger dental anxiety in people. Examples include:

  • A poor or traumatic experience in a dental office in the past. Other negative healthcare experiences can trigger dental anxiety even though the two specialties are unrelated. Previous head and neck trauma can also trigger dental anxiety.
  • Other traumatic experiences, including being abused by someone, can result in a person being anxious about visiting the dentist.
  • People with a previous anxiety disorder or neurosis can get dental anxiety.
  • Some people fear a loss of control from sitting in the dentist’s chair and being unable to move when having treatments.
  • Some people feel an invasion of personal space when the mouth is being examined.

How has COVID-19 Increased Dental Anxiety?

COVID-19 was stressful for most people with a new and dangerous infection. Most dentists were unable to work during lockdown apart from emergencies because dentistry is an aerosol-generating procedure, increasing the risk of disease. Many people who were wary of getting infected from COVID will also have been scared to visit the dentist, for this reason, particularly those who have an existing chronic medical condition that made them more vulnerable to infection.

As many dentists did not carry out regular appointments and checks during lockdowns, dental health will have deteriorated. In addition, some anxious people concerned about dental treatment are aware they need procedures and are fearful of the experience, delaying appointments and potentially compounding the problem. People have also been affected economically by the pandemic and may be anxious about the cost of treatment.

How to Overcome Dental Anxiety During the Pandemic

There are several ways to overcome your fear of visiting the dentist during the pandemic and at any time.

Talk to Your Dentist

If you are anxious about visiting the dentist or an upcoming procedure, it is essential to talk to the dental team. You are not the first to feel anxious and will not be the last either. Dentists and dental nurses are trained to help allay your fears. They can explain the procedure, offer calming techniques such as music, and manage pain. If you are anxious about cost, there are ways to manage bills with payment plans. Getting proactive care and treatment is vital so you don’t end up with a significant infection such as a dental abscess.

Follow Sanitation and Disinfection Processes

Your dentist will have disinfection processes in place and be happy to talk them through with you. The clinical team regularly tests for COVID and uses disposable equipment, including PPE. You can help them by washing your hands and using a sanitiser, not attending if you have symptoms of COVD-19, and following any pre-screening instructions. Wearing a mask in an enclosed space is advisable.

Educate Yourself

You can help yourself by learning about the importance of good dental health and how dentists are keeping their clinics safe during the pandemic. In addition, if you are looking for ways to manage your anxiety, you can learn a few techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, and distraction methods such as listening to music. By learning to manage your anxiety, you will be in a better position to manage future issues and appointments.

Wear Protective Equipment

If you are worried about picking up an infection at the dentist, wear protective equipment such as a face shield or mask. You can also help yourself by getting vaccinated against COVID-19, which will increase your immunity. In addition, wash your hands regularly and use a hand sanitiser.


Dental anxiety is common, but there are effective ways to manage the situation. It is very important to talk to your dentist and to get treatment before a small problem escalates into a bigger one and affects your health. 

Take that first step and book an appointment with your dentist today.

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