Dental anxiety, patient covering her mouth at the dentist, fear of the dentistDental anxiety, or fear of the dentist, is a very real condition that can make it difficult for people to regularly see their dentist for treatment and preventative dental care. It can range from mild anxiety when attending a dental appointment through to debilitating fear that leads to people avoiding the dentist for years. It is estimated that as much as one third of New Zealanders experience some form of dental anxiety.


  • Most of the time nervousness or fear of the dentist is caused by a traumatic past experience. Some people find the noise of the dental drills or even the smell of the dental clinic are stress triggers.
  • Sensitive teeth can also cause dental phobia, where even regular treatments like teeth cleaning can be uncomfortable and borderline painful for people with very sensitive teeth.
  • Fear of pain, loss of control and a phobia about needles are also all common causes of dental anxiety.

Ways to Overcome Dental Anxiety

If you suffer from dental anxiety or dental phobia, tell your dentist or dental hygienist all about it. At Fraser Dental our goal is to make your dental appointment a positive experience. Sharing your concerns will allow us to navigate your anxiety triggers. Distractions, support people, having a signal for pausing, and understanding what is happening at each step can all make your procedure less stressful and alleviate your fears.

If the thought of pain is a major cause of your anxiety, it is reassuring to know that the latest anaesthetic medicines will ensure your treatment is virtually painless. For standard teeth cleaning, numbing gel works quickly and is very effective at relieving teeth sensitivity during these in-depth cleanings. For most restorative dental procedures, local anaesthetics will be applied at the site, where they quickly infiltrate the soft tissues or nerves and numb the area for several hours.

Please contact us if you suffer from dental anxiety – we can discuss options to help you manage this so you do not need to compromise your oral health.