Are you someone who gets anxious before you go to the dentist? If so, you are not alone!

What is an Anxiolytic?

What is an Anxiolytic?


OMG Admin

November 11,2020

Are you someone who gets anxious before you go to the dentist? If so, you are not alone! It is estimated that as many as 40 million Americans will actually avoid the dentist because of fear and anxiety. Some may not think that it is a huge deal to be sure that they are going to the dentist regularly for cleanings and check-ups, but skipping those appointments can actually be detrimental to your overall dental health. 

Oftentimes, people are scared that going to the dentist will be painful. If you have sensitive teeth or you will need to have a small procedure done, pain could definitely be a worry for you. Other people may be fearful due to a negative experience they had in the past. There are several different reasons that one may be anxious or nervous when they need to go to the dentist, even just for a routine cleaning. If this anxiety isn’t addressed, it can cause patients to avoid going, which can actually cause the need for MORE dental work. 

What can you do?

If you struggle with anxiety before the dentist like so many others do, you may be wondering what exactly you can do to help prevent your anxiety beforehand. There are a couple of things that you can try when you are going to the dentist in order to put yourself in a better headspace that, hopefully, doesn’t include so much anxiety. 

The first idea is to listen to some funny audio books or podcasts on your way to the dentist and as you wait to go in. This will hopefully get you laughing and take your mind off of your upcoming appointment. Also, try not to arrive too early so that you are in the space for the least amount of time possible. 

Another great tip is to listen to soothing music during your appointment if the noises of the tools are something that bothers you. Lastly, you can ask your dentist to explain things that they are doing before they do it. This can help decrease anxiety by allowing you to be a part of the process, which brings back a bit of control for you. 


If your fear and anxiety goes beyond those simple tips, you may need something more  to help your anxiety like sedation dentistry. Anxiolytics are anti-anxiety drugs that are used to lessen several anxiety disorders. These are typically prescribed for short-term use and can work to target key chemical messengers in the brain. 

If you suffer from extreme anxiety before the dentist, sedation dentistry may be an option for you. As long as your dentist is certified for general minimal sedation, they can prescribe you this medication before your appointment in order to make the entire process easier for you. With short term use of anxiolytics, there are very few side effects. For the most part, side effects include drowsiness or dizziness while taking the medication. Of course, if long-term use occurs, those side effects can drastically increase. 

If you are a dentist looking to help patients reduce their anxiety by prescribing anxiolytics, our minimal sedation certification course is offered fully online. Contact us today to see what courses you can take to begin helping your patients with sedation dentistry!