Anxious Patients

At Harker Chan & Associates in Calgary, our dentists and team prioritize patient care. With that, comes helping our patients manage any fear or anxiety they feel in relation to their dental treatment.


Overcoming Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety and fear can become overwhelming. It is estimated that as many as 35 million people avoid visiting a dentist because they are afraid. Having regular routine dental check ups is an important element in maintaining your oral health and can help reduce the need for more complex treatments.

Here are some options for reducing dental fear and anxiety:

Talk to the dentist.

Though it can be hard to talk about irrational fears with a stranger, remember that the dentist is quite used to helping people deal with their anxieties about dental treatment, and wants your experience in his chair to be a positive one.

If you communicate your fears and anxiety ahead of time, the dentist can take extra precautions to help you feel more comfortable during treatment.

Bring a portable music player.

Music acts as a relaxant and also drowns out any fear-producing noises. Listening to calming music throughout the appointment will help to reduce anxiety.

Agree on a signal.

Many people are afraid that the dentist will not know they are in significant pain during the appointment, and will carry on the procedure regardless.

The best way to solve this problem is to agree on a “stop” hand signal with the dentist. Both parties can easily understand signals like raising the hand or tapping on the chair.

Spray the throat.

Throat sprays (for example, Vicks® Chloraseptic® Throat Spray) can help control the gag reflex. Two or three sprays will usually keep the reflex under control for about an hour.

Use a mirror.

Not being able to see what is happening can increase anxiety. Watching the procedure can help keep reality at the forefront of the mind.

Consider sedation.

Sedation is a helpful option for many people. There are several types of sedation, but the general premise behind them is the same: the patient regains their faculties after treatment is complete.

Ask about alternatives.

Advances in technology mean that dental microsurgery is now an option. Lasers can be used to prepare teeth for fillings, whiten teeth and remove staining. Discuss all the options with the dentist and decide on one that is effective and produces minimal anxiety.


If you have questions or concerns about how the dentist can help you overcome anxiety and fear, please contact our Calgary dental office.

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