How to overcome your dental anxiety: 6 main reasons people avoid the dentist

We know it’s not personal—not everybody loves coming to the dentist. If you experience dental anxiety, we want you to know how common it is. Estimates suggest that up to 20% of Canadians experience dental anxiety or fear, according to research and surveys conducted by organizations such as the Canadian Dental Association and academic institutions. There’s no shame in not liking the dentist. We’re here to support you in overcoming any barriers that prevent you from having the best oral health possible. In this article we discuss the most common reasons people avoid getting regular dental care and what we would say to anyone experiencing these barriers. 


Fear of the unknown 

One of the main reasons so many people have dental anxiety is fear of the unknown. One of the simplest ways to address this fear is by providing you with information and explaining treatments and procedures step-by-step. Knowing what to expect reduces unknowns, making it easier for you to manage your anxiety about the dental appointment. 


Fear of pain or discomfort from past experiences
With our gentle and experienced hands, we hope we can create a corrective dental experience that changes your overall perception of dental care. By talking about your past experience and letting your dentist know about your concerns, we can work together to ensure you’re comfortable so that we can show you how easy dental treatments can be.


Sensory sensitivities 

If you have sensory sensitivities that are hard to manage in a traditional clinical environment with harsh lighting and other stressful stimuli, we have a few recommendations. Plan to wear comfortable loose fitting clothing—this would be a day for the favourite socks or lucky underwear if you have any. Not that you’ll need luck because you’re in experienced hands, but the comfort of knowing you’re wearing your good juju gear can go a long way. We also recommend bringing a pair of sunglasses, although we also have some you can wear. Many people find it more comforting to wear a hooded shirt that hugs your head without impeding the dental team’s access to your mouth like a hat might. You might consider bringing your headphones and favourite music or audiobook to keep you engaged and distracted while we work on your teeth. We also encourage you to let your hygienist know about your sensitivities so they can help keep you comfortable throughout your appointment. 


Sometimes the dental bill on its own is enough to cause anxiety. It’s important to remember ignoring dental issues now and delaying treatments could lead to more pain and even higher costs later on. Your oral health is important, and there may be resources available to help you manage the cost. If you need treatment but cost is a factor in you proceeding, we are happy to offer flexible financing and payment plans. We may also be able to recommend dental insurance plans for you to explore. Talk to our administrative team today! 


Skewed perception of need

Some people may believe that they don’t need to see a dentist unless they are experiencing pain or obvious dental issues. However, regular dental check-ups are important for maintaining oral health and catching potential problems early.



If it’s been a long time since your last dental appointment, you might feel embarrassed or ashamed about the condition of your teeth or gums. If this shame or fear of being judged is preventing you from seeking dental care, please know that we have seen it all! Chances are pretty slim that your teeth will be the worst we have ever seen, and it’s not our job to judge you—only to support and empower you in attaining the best possible oral health no matter what it takes. 

Exams, cleanings, and dental treatments for people with dental anxiety 

Whatever your reasons for putting off your professional dental care, we’re here to support you in overcoming your fears and removing barriers to oral health. The team at Neesh Dental is experienced in treating patients with various forms of dental anxiety and ready to address whatever is holding you back from getting the dental care you need. 


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