Blog Hero

Nervous About Your Dentist Appointment? You Have Options

Book Appointment
A dentist puts an inhalation sedative mask on his female patient.

If you’re experiencing dental anxiety, you’re not alone. People of all ages struggle with apprehension at dentist appointments, which can lead to patients postponing visits and potentially worsening dental conditions.

Now, it’s possible to face dental anxiety head-on with options like sedation dentistry and Solea laser dentistry.

Once you try alternative treatment styles, you can get around your dental anxiety and make it just another appointment on your calendar rather than something to dread.

What are the Symptoms of Dental Anxiety?

When faced with a dental appointment, some patients just don’t like the thought, while others have dental anxiety, which can manifest in physical symptoms such as:

  • Light-headedness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Crying
  • Heart palpitations
  • Panic attacks
  • Erratic behaviour

Sedation Dentistry

Anxiety stems from the nervous system’s fight-or-flight response. Sedation dentistry relies on suppressing that part of the nervous system to promote calm and relaxation. It’s a non-invasive way to keep you feeling as tranquil while still being awake and able to communicate.

We’ll thoroughly review sedation options with you to ensure you’re armed with the information you need for informed consent. Since the process is non-invasive, there are two simple options to deliver sedation dentistry: oral and inhalation.

Oral Sedation 

To prepare for oral sedation, you’ll take a pill and wait about an hour for it to take effect. Oral sedation can cause some disorientation and fatigue, so you’ll need someone to drive you home following your appointment.

Inhalation Sedation

Informally known as “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide is used for dental anxiety patients because of its calming effects. You simply need to breathe it in through a face mask, and it begins to take effect quickly.

Inhalation sedation is the ideal choice for kids with dental anxiety because it’s easy to administer and has few side effects. Since kids aren’t known to be the most patient, its instant results work in your favour.

A male dentist is performing a laser treatment on a male patient. The dentist holds laser equipment in his right hand while the patient is lying on a dental chair and wears a protective eyeglasses.

Solea Laser Dentistry

If sedation isn’t the right choice for you, another option is Solea laser dentistry. Using current laser technology, our team can execute several services with minimal time in the dentist’s chair.

If traditional dental tools cause anxiety and fear, Solea laser uses a focused beam of CO2 to allow our dental team to complete procedures without the drill. This is a quieter, more comfortable way to keep your teeth and gums healthy by addressing the following:

  • Cavities
  • Fillings
  • Crown lengthening

Coping Mechanisms to Deal with Dentist Anxiety

If waiting for the sedation to kick for an hour still makes you uneasy, there are coping strategies and distractions to help relieve dental anxiety.

Breathing Exercises

Focusing on breathing can help slow your heart rate and calm your panic. There are several different breathing exercises to try until you find a technique that suits you best.

Some popular types of breathing exercises include equal breathing. Counting your inhales and exhales to even out your breath can reset your nervous system and give you something else to focus on.

Diaphragmatic breathing, where you breathe into your diaphragm closer to your stomach, is a technique to help deepen your breathing and reduce tension. Breathing into your diaphragm for 5 to 10 minutes helps regulate blood pressure and reduce stress-induced headaches.


Meditation is a powerful muscle relaxation process that takes some practice but can help calm you. At its most basic, meditation is an opportunity to close your eyes and relax your muscles. Focus only on the body and release the tension where you notice it most, such as your shoulders and neck.

You can even meditate during your appointment if you’re adept at blocking out what’s happening around you.

Bring Distractions

Having something else to focus on can help relieve anxiety. Bring headphones to listen to music or podcasts to help you zone out while our dental team works. Load up your phone or tablet with shows to watch while your oral sedation kicks in so you can keep yourself busy for an hour while you wait.

We’re Here for You

If you’re nervous about your dentist appointment, sedation or Solea laser dentistry might be a good option for you or your anxious child. For the first step in helping to overcome dental anxiety, book an appointment and ask about how we can use our technology to help calm your nerves.

Written by Dr. JJ

Meet the leader of the Hometown Dental team — Dr. JJ!

More Articles By Dr. JJ
instagram facebook facebook2 pinterest twitter google-plus google linkedin2 yelp youtube phone location calendar share2 link star-full star star-half chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down chevron-up envelope fax