How to Help Dental Anxiety

Posted on:

January 9, 2021

If you get nervous just thinking about going to the dentist, you are not alone. You may be scared that the dental treatment will hurt or you may not have been to the dentist in some time and are afraid of what will be found.

Whatever is your situation, your dentist should make sure that not only is your dental health taken care of but also your emotional health.

Like almost anything else in life, the more you prolong not going to the dentist, the more likely it is you will develop a dental problem. Remember, prevention is always the best treatment so seeing your dentist regularly will actually make your dental appointment experience much easier and less stressful.

How to Help Dental Anxiety

Signs and Symptoms of Dental Anxiety

People with dental anxiety may experience:

  • Sweating
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Low blood pressure
  • Visible distress, crying, or signs of panic
  • Withdrawal or using humor or aggression to mask anxiety
John Dudley
John Dudley
January 20, 2022
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

I could not be any more fortunate and grateful for Dr. George Orfaly accepting me recently as a new patient! I switched over from my previous provider in a nearby community after receiving subpar care and at risk of losing two teeth. He and the entire team at Fisher & Orfaly Dental have made my transition a smooth and comfortable one, setting me at ease and swiftly on the path to a promising prognosis! I also know that both Dr. Orfaly and Dr. Fisher care a great deal about the community beyond the walls of their practice, too, both quite supportive of local nonprofit and charitable efforts. This all makes me feel wonderful about being a patient, one of the best decisions I've ever made. You and your family should consider switching to Fisher & Orfaly!

William Stewart
William Stewart
January 20, 2022
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

Needed a new dentist in Salem, picked Dr. Orfaly by location. I met him before agreeing to my first appointment, and so far, have been very happy. I'm a curious sob, and credit Dr Orfaly for being patient with my atmospheric river of questions. He knows how to relate to patients, and seems to be on top of his game. Highly recommend.

Carol Gray
Carol Gray
October 21, 2020
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

Everything about my dental experience is professional and considerate.

Peter Gaudreault
Peter Gaudreault
August 5, 2020
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

Made you feel comfortable, right from the start. Definitely five stars found my new dentist!

Ed Schutte
Ed Schutte
January 10, 2020
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

I have been a patient of Fisher & Orfaly for many years now. But recently, my whole family moved to the practice. Their approach has always been kind, caring and practical.

John Dudley
John Dudley
January 20, 2022
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

I could not be any more fortunate and grateful for Dr. George Orfaly accepting me recently as a new patient! I switched over from my previous provider in a nearby community after receiving subpar care and at risk of losing two teeth. He and the entire team at Fisher & Orfaly Dental have made my transition a smooth and comfortable one, setting me at ease and swiftly on the path to a promising prognosis! I also know that both Dr. Orfaly and Dr. Fisher care a great deal about the community beyond the walls of their practice, too, both quite supportive of local nonprofit and charitable efforts. This all makes me feel wonderful about being a patient, one of the best decisions I've ever made. You and your family should consider switching to Fisher & Orfaly!

William Stewart
William Stewart
January 20, 2022
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

Needed a new dentist in Salem, picked Dr. Orfaly by location. I met him before agreeing to my first appointment, and so far, have been very happy. I'm a curious sob, and credit Dr Orfaly for being patient with my atmospheric river of questions. He knows how to relate to patients, and seems to be on top of his game. Highly recommend.

Carol Gray
Carol Gray
October 21, 2020
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

Everything about my dental experience is professional and considerate.

Peter Gaudreault
Peter Gaudreault
August 5, 2020
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

Made you feel comfortable, right from the start. Definitely five stars found my new dentist!

Ed Schutte
Ed Schutte
January 10, 2020
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

I have been a patient of Fisher & Orfaly for many years now. But recently, my whole family moved to the practice. Their approach has always been kind, caring and practical.

Causes of Dental Anxiety

  • Fear of pain: fear usually stems from past experience at the dentist’s office
  • Trust issues with the clinic
  • Fear of injections or fear that injections won’t work
  • Fear of anesthetic side effects

How Can Dental Anxiety Affect Oral Health?

Avoiding the dentist because of anxiety can worsen the dental problem you may have, resulting in a greater need for emergency care and complex treatment.

Most dental diseases are lifestyle-related and preventable. Dental checkups, x-rays are preventive measures for any dental diseases. By avoiding going to a dentist, not only are you inviting more complex treatments but also missing out on how to keep your oral health in check.

Strategies To Ease Your Dental Anxiety

Here are some strategies you can use at your next appointment to help ease your anxiety and strengthen your smile.

  1. Communicate
    It is important for you to share your feelings – this makes a world of difference. If you are feeling stressed or anxious, let your dentist know. If your dentist knows how you are feeling, they will be in a better position to help you through your dental treatment.

    Do not be shy. Remind your dentist at your appointments how you feel and do not be afraid to ask questions. By knowing what to expect will help with the fear of the unknown.

    Another helpful idea is to agree with your dentist prior to treatment on a signal that you can use to indicate that you need a break. A common signal is raising your hand.
  2. Distraction
    Distracting your mind from the dental treatment may seem difficult but there are some easy ways to do so.

    Wear headphones and listen to music or an audiobook. This will help decrease how much you hear the dental drill and will distract your mind. You may even find yourself lost in the music or book you are listening to.

    Occupy your hands by squeezing a stress ball or playing with a small handheld object. Imagine your happy place and picture yourself at a relaxing beach.
  3. Be Mindful
    Relaxation actually starts in the mind; knowing this, try breathing exercises to help relax tension in your body.
  4. Count your breaths
    Inhale slowly and then exhale for the same number of counts. Do this five times while you’re waiting for your appointment, or during breaks while you’re sitting in the dental chair.

    Concentrate on relaxing your muscles, one body part at a time. This is called body scanning. Start with your head and work your way down to your toes. For example, you can focus on releasing tension starting in your forehead, then your cheeks, your neck, and down the rest of your body.
This article was first posted on January 14, 2020, and last updated on January 9, 2021.
Maura Murphy
Maura Murphy
January 24, 2022
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

I was not a fan of going to the dentist! One might say afraid… but thanks to the amazing team at Fisher & Orfaly I am back on track with my 6 month cleanings. The team did an amazing job calming my fears and I can actually say I may even enjoy going to the dentist now! The team is professional, accommodating, and they do a fabulous job cleaning my teeth! I am so grateful that they have me back on track with great dental habits. They certainly have given me something to smile about.

Corbin Bettencourt
Corbin Bettencourt
January 24, 2022
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

Who likes to go to the dentist? Fear no more. Dr. Orfaly and his staff provide an environment of ease and professionalism that relieve the jitters that so many feel during visits to the dentist. Whether a routine check up or more complex procedure, our experiences have been most positive.

Jacqueline Traynor
Jacqueline Traynor
May 19, 2021
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

I am someone who has been terrified of the Dentist from a very young age, but after seeing Dr. Orfaly and his team over the past couple of months I have 100% gotten over my fears. I have never felt more comfortable and taken care of by the staff. Everyone is so nice and down to earth they make you feel welcome! Dr. Orfaly even came in on a day they were closed because I was having extreme tooth pain, and he totally fixed the problem, I will never forget that. I’m so happy I decided to go to Fischer & Orfaly, best decision I’ve ever made!

Ashley Spencer
Ashley Spencer
April 1, 2021
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

Dr Orfaly is the best dentist around! I have alot of anxiety around going to the dentist & Dr Orfaly always makes sure to check in to see how I'm doing & is so nice. If a referral is needed to a specialist, he makes the call for you & gets you an appt quickly (mine was even the same day) I love how they book you with the same dental hygienist for all cleanings.. Adds another level of comfort... Shoutout to mine, Kathy!! 😊

Martina Pena-Martes
Martina Pena-Martes
February 7, 2020
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

Before coming to Fisher & Orflay my daughter hated coming to the dentist, she now looks forward to her appointments fully knowing and understanding every procedure being done. They make her visits pleasant each and every time, providing excellent service with the help of their friendly and knowledgeable staff.

Sam Smullin
Sam Smullin
January 22, 2020
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

After many years of neglecting my my teeth due to fear of the dentist my dental issues got bad enough that I had no choice but to adress them. I randomly selected Fisher & Orfaly and am very glad that I did. Dr Orfaly did a great job while making sure I was as comfortable as possible.After completing the initial, extensive repairs my mouth looks and feels great. In the 10 years since I first visited I had had no new major work needed. Even better, I can walk into the office without that sense of dread that is familiar to so many people.

Dr. George Orfaly
Dr. George Orfaly, D.M.D.

About the author

Dr. George Orfaly is a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry and has been practicing as a dentist in Salem, MA since 2005. He has consistently improved the lives of his patients by providing them relief, confidence, and healthy smiles. He believes that oral health is directly related to overall health and well-being. Dr. Orfaly has also been an active member of the American Dental Association, Massachusetts Dental Society, and North Shore District Dental Society.

You might also like

What To Expect When You Haven’t Been To The Dentist In A Long Time
What To Expect When You Haven’t Been To The Dentist In A Long Time

At Fisher & Orfaly Dental Clinic, Salem, MA, we understand that life happens. If you're visiting us after not seeing a dental professional for a long time, here’s what to expect

March 17, 2022
5 Questions To Ask Your New Dentist At Your First Appointment
5 Questions To Ask Your New Dentist At Your First Appointment

Dr. George Orfaly, of Fisher & Orfaly Dental Clinic, Salem, MA, has prepared a list of questions to help you be more comfortable with your new dentist.

February 24, 2022
How To Choose A Family Dentist In Salem, MA
How To Choose A Family Dentist In Salem, MA

When looking for a dentist in Salem, MA, it's important to research carefully and find someone who has experience with your needs.

February 16, 2022
Fisher & Orfaly Map

18 Hawthorne Blvd. Salem, MA 01970

Get Directions
Office Hours

Monday       : 8 am - 7:30 pm
Tuesday       : 8 am - 5 pm
Wednesday : 8 am - 7:30 pm
Thursday     : 8 am - 5 pm
Friday           : 8 am - 12 pm