Therapies for Managing Dental Anxiety

Relaxed woman in a dental chair before dental treatment.

One of the main reasons patients do not seek dental treatment as often as they should is dental anxiety. There are many forms and levels of anxiety surrounding dentists and dental treatments which can impact oral health care. If you are one of the people that avoid dental care due to anxiety or a dental phobia, there are therapies that can help you overcome your fears. At Les Belles, we recommend the following dental anxiety management strategies to ensure our patients are comfortable and relaxed when visiting us for their holistic dental care.


One of the contributors to dental anxiety is a feeling of loss of control. The Tell-Show-Do technique is designed to help ease the fear of not knowing what will happen next. While it was first used to help children feel more comfortable when visiting the dentist, it also works well with adults. This technique is used in the following manner to help with desensitization and calming the patient:

  • The dentist tells the patient what they would like to do next.
  • The dentist shows the patient what will occur.
  • The dentist asks for permission to proceed to perform the procedure.

This method puts the patient in control. It is very effective at relieving anxiety in patients of all ages. It can be tailored in many ways to improve the dental experience for each patient.

Exposure or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Some patients with dentophobia or dental anxiety may benefit from therapy to overcome their fears. Exposure therapy involves sessions with a therapist that teaches patients with dental anxiety or phobia relaxation techniques to use during exposure to dental treatments. At first, these techniques are used while viewing dentistry images, then progressing to using them while going to the dentist and during treatments.

Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, can be used with exposure therapy or on its own. This type of talk therapy is used to understand the underlying causes of dental phobias or anxiety, working toward methods to overcome these fears.

Sedation Therapy

If a patient does not want to under therapy to overcome dental anxiety, combining Tell-Show-Do and sedation therapy is a viable solution. At Les Belles, we use a holistic approach to managing fears and anxiety for our patients. Our dental team takes the time to discuss every step of each procedure to ensure patients feel comfortable. We also offer sedation methods that can relax patients during their treatment, ensuring they feel safe and comfortable during every visit to our office.

Your oral health is essential to your overall wellness. If dental anxiety has been keeping you from obtaining your healthiest smile, contact our team at Les Belles. We utilize advanced dental anxiety management techniques that can improve your experience when you visit our office. Call our dental center in New York City to learn more about how you can say goodbye to dental anxiety.

Posted on behalf of Les Belles