Dental Anxiety Help

In this blog series, Dental Anxiety Help, premiering today, we’d like to introduce our guest contributor, Andre Perreault, LMHC.  Over the course of the next several weeks (every Wednesday) we will be featuring his advice and helpful tips for people who experience anxiety, fear, and phobias about dental visits.  Please check back every week for more – we will tag our posts with “anxiety” for quick reference when viewing in a feeder program. 


Andre Perreault, LMHC
Andre Perreault, LMHC

If you’d like to reach Mr. Perreault directly, please call him at (617) 835-6581.







“I think I have dental phobia”

If you have dental phobia then simply thinking about the dentist may lead you to a lot of tension, sweaty palms and even get your heart pounding.  These are just some symptoms of the anxiety associated with dental phobia. Now here is the important part; you are one of hundreds of thousands of Americans today who struggle with dental phobia and better yet, if you’re reading this than you are taking a step toward dealing with the anxiety that is holding you back from better health and a gorgeous grin.

Here are some tips, hints and general information about anxiety. Learning about anxiety is an essential component of dealing with anxiety. So take a deep breath and open up your mind so later you can open your mouth and get the job done.

Think about your past trips to the dentist and consider these questions:

Do you worry, become tense or feel on edge?

Are your worries or concerns irrational, but you can’t shake them?

Do you feel that something bad will happen despite firmly knowing that it’s highly unlikely?

Do you begin to sweat or feel your heart pounding?

Do you tremble at all or experience shortness of breath?

Do you feel dizzy?

Do you feel any fear?

These questions progress through levels of experience of anxiety and fear. You may answer yes to some and no to others but the most important question is this; do any of these feelings or experiences make it difficult for you to maintain your dental health?

If you answered yes to several of these, especially the last question, you are dealing with some level of dental anxiety or fear. If your experience of fear is intense, keeping you from thinking of the dentist, let alone going a dentist’s office, you are dealing with some level of phobia.

You may find it helpful to distinguish between anxiety, fear and phobia. Anxiety is fear of the unknown. Everyone experiences some level of anxiety especially when approaching a situation that they’ve never been through before. Fear, on the other hand is fear of something known. You’ve been to the dentist before. You know what the dentist will do and what it felt like last time and still you are afraid even to the point of experiencing the fight, flight or freeze reaction. And phobia is the same as fear but much stronger. Dental phobia is fear of the dentist that is so strong that even thinking about a cleaning causes a fight or flight reaction.

Side note: dental anxiety and dental phobia are not what most would easily consider a mental illness. However, dental anxiety or phobia can be experienced in addition to a more severe condition. The experience of anxiety consistently over time is linked to depression. It is believed that both anxiety and depression involve similar neurochemical processes in the brain and are related to the same biological vulnerability. Those who experience anxiety are more susceptible to depression and the reverse is also true.



I am here to help. To begin with I want to provide some general information to help educate those who might be feeling nervous about the dentist. I have included general information about anxiety, fear and the body’s responses to those feelings. In this blog series, I will be discussing a number of tips and exercises that you might find helpful.  If you would like to work with me personally please call (617) 835 – 6581.  You can also consult with Drs. Ali and Ali at 781-237-9071 on dental treatment options that reduce anxiety.  Thanks and I hope you find this helpful. Check back on Wednesday for tip #1 on combatting dental anxiety.

More entries

Dental Anxiety Help 2: Reality Check   click here


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