What Modern Dental Clinics Are Doing To Combat Dental Anxiety

Dr. Christopher Li Etobicoke - Li Family Dental

By Dr. Christopher Li

April 2, 2021

anxiety-free dentistry, dental anxiety, gentle dental, sedation dentistry

Modern dental clinics understand dental anxiety and consider those fears when recommending dental treatments. This understanding helps ensure each patient receives care in the gentlest, most calming way possible. Today, it’s our goal to overcome dental care avoidance due to dental phobias, using new methods designed to keep you calm and help you feel safe.

If it’s been a while since you’ve visited a dentist, you might be surprised to learn about the advances in dental care and how they can help you deal with dental anxiety. Here is what modern dental clinics are doing to help combat dental anxiety.

Open Discussion About Dental Anxiety

In order to help you overcome dental anxiety, we discuss what could be causing your anxiety in the first place. Whether it is related to past negative experiences, discomfort due to teeth sensitivity or bleeding during cleanings, fear of dentists, anxieties related to other mental conditions such as depression or fear of germs, or even general trust issues, an honest discussion provides us with the information we need to create an anxiety-free experience that helps you get your oral health back on track.


Don’t feel you have to take a giant step and come directly to our office to discuss your care. We are happy to discuss your anxiety over the phone first, allowing us to take special care to welcome you to our office with a clear understanding of what is causing your anxiety. We take every step necessary to help you feel welcome and get used to our team, the environment, and the new methods introduced to dental care since your last visit.

Preparing For Your First Appointment


Before you even reach our office, you can prepare yourself for your first dental appointment using coping techniques designed to overcome anxiety. Modern coping methods often fall back on proven techniques for coping with stress such as deep breathing or meditation. However, many offices have also embraced new ideas that have changed the actual environment of the dental clinic. For example, the use of music and televisions during treatment can help provide a distraction during your procedure.

Arrival At Our Office


As mentioned above, we have designed our office to help reduce dental anxiety. Our friendly staff is ready to welcome you and help keep you calm while waiting for your appointment. Modern technology has made it easier for us to view your teeth and make a diagnosis. Things such as using headphones during your treatment can block out sounds you might find unpleasant both while you wait, and during your appointment. Whenever you feel anxious you need only let us know, and we will do whatever we can to make you feel safe and comfortable.

Anxiety-Free Dentistry Options

Anxiety-free dentistry is just that: Dentistry designed to prevent anxiety. Whether you suffer from mild dental anxiety or something more severe, we now offer different analgesics that help keep you relaxed. This might include nitrous oxide, also known as “happy gas”, forms of anxiety-relieving medication, or different types of sedation. Sedation dentistry helps patients with dental anxieties experience anxiety-free dentistry in a perfectly calm state.


Gentle Dental


This pain-free approach to dentistry ensures you are completely comfortable at every visit. The approach to gentle dental is simple:

● We will give you medication to take the morning of your dental appointment so you will feel very drowsy by the time of your procedure
● Because of this drowsiness, you will need someone to take you to your appointment and drive you home
● At your appointment, we will give you a local anesthetic injection to prevent any pain during your procedure
● Your medication will keep you comfortable and pain-free for up to 12 hours depending on your treatment

During your appointment, you will feel no pain and be completely relaxed. You can even speak to our team if you wish during your procedure. When you return home you will probably continue to feel a sense of relaxation for a few hours.

Sedation Dentistry


Sedation Dentistry is for those with more severe dental anxiety, as it puts you into a deep sleep. You will have no awareness of your procedure, which includes the following steps:

● We prescribe a sedative for you to take the night before, so you sleep well before your appointment
● You wake up feeling completely calm and relaxed, so you will need a ride to your appointment
● Our team will provide further medication to ease you into a deeper state of relaxation and sleep when you arrive
● You are monitored throughout the procedure
● You will remain sedated following the procedure and will need someone to drive you home
● You will also need someone to stay with you while your medication wears off

The next day we will call you to see how you are feeling. Sedation dentistry leaves little to no memory of the procedure so you can simply enjoy your new healthier smile.

Why Choose Anxiety-Free Dentistry?


There are many reasons people choose anxiety-free dentistry appointments. In fact, even people who do not experience dental phobias have discovered the benefits of sedation dentistry options. We can discuss the option that works best for you if you:

● Have very sensitive teeth
● Are afraid of dentists
● Have a severe gag reflex during dental work
● Are worried about treatment due to a past experience
● Are afraid of needles

However, it is also an excellent option if you require a lot of work, or a longer appointment where it might be uncomfortable sitting in the chair for a long period of time. Also, people who decide to get a lot of work done in one shot due to a busy schedule often prefer some form of sedation dentistry so they can book a single worry-free appointment.

No Judgement

Many patients avoid dental checkups because they are embarrassed by the condition of their teeth. However, our job is to care for teeth and gums, and we welcome with open arms all patients willing to take the steps necessary to get their dental health back on track. Our goal is to provide dental care in an anxiety-free environment where every patient feels safe and comfortable.

If you suffer from dental anxiety, give us a call at 416-232-2033 or request an appointment by clicking here.

Dr. Christopher Li

About the author

Doctor Christopher Li, DDS
Dr. Chris, as he is affectionately known, is a licensed dentist with over 20 years experience. His caring personality makes even the most tentative person at ease. Patients are constantly commenting about how Dr. Chris is incredible at delivering pain-free freezing, and how he has an amazing chair-side manner.  Dr. Chris loves sharing information with his patients and everyone who has teeth about how to care for their teeth, avoid tooth decay, and the treatments available to help them overcome their tooth pain or other dental issues so they can enjoy life and food to its fullest!

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