As many as 40 million Americans avoid the dentist simply because they are afraid to go. Why all of this fear of the dentist?

Well, there are different reasons for this fear. Some people anticipate pain while others fear their dentist might be rushed or neglect their concerns. Many of you have had negative experiences and even fear the smell of a dentist office.

But if you don’t address your dental problems, it can lead to severe oral health issues that will require even more treatment. James W. Mellert, your dentist in Torrance, offers tips for dental anxiety.

Recognize Your Fears

You need to come to terms with the fact that you fear the dentist so that you can address them. Write your fears down so that you can talk about them. Listening to your fears will help you recognize them.

Meet and Greet

That tray of dental instruments sitting right next to you is full of sharp objects and other scary stuff that will be forced into your mouth. That is pretty scary.

What might ease your fears is to have a talk with your dentist about the tools on the tray. You should have a meet and greet with the dental tools so you can hold them while your dentist explains what each one is and what it is used for.

Bring a Friend

It helps if you bring a good friend with you to the dentist, someone who doesn’t have a fear of the dentist and someone you trust. This person can sit next to you during the treatment and offer support and words of encouragement.

Find a Distraction

The sound of suction tubes and dental drills can be unnerving. It helps if you wear earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to eliminate these terrifying sounds.

It will also help if you are listening to music or a television show or movie. Basically, you need something to drown out the sounds and keep you calm.

Hand Signs

Agree with your dentist ahead of time on hand signals to communicate when all is well and when you need a break. This way, you feel empowered because you can stop the treatment at any time.

Modern Treatments

Keep in mind that dental procedures have improved greatly in recent years. Modern dentistry offers new and improved methods that make you feel more comfortable. What you experienced as a kid at the dentist is no longer how things are done.

Go Slow

Your dentist will be more than happy to go at your pace, even if it is slow. Your first visit should be for something easy to break the ice, like a cleaning for example. This will help you build a relationship with your dentist and hopefully build trust.


Sedation can be administered to help keep you calm and relaxed during the treatment. Discuss with your dentist what sedatives are available and what would work best for you.

If you have any questions about overcoming your fear of the dentist, please feel free to give James W. Mellert a call. Schedule your appointment today.