If You Have Dental or Orthodontic Anxiety, This One’s For You

If You Have Dental or Orthodontic Anxiety, This One’s For You

The fear of going to the dentist or orthodontist is a real thing.

In fact, the medical diagnosis for it is dentophobia or odontophobia.

Such trepidation is associated with a number of reasons. From childhood trauma to a general fear of needles and/or drills. These people have their own list of activities which may bring about dread and angst that still affect them to this day.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, 36% of people in the U.S. have a fear of dental treatment, with 12% labeling it as an extreme fear.

Overcoming this type of phobia can be a major obstacle for teenagers and adults alike. While there isn’t one single thing you can change that will relieve you of this fear overnight, there are tips, techniques, and treatment options to help you gradually combat the dental and orthodontic anxiety. 

So just know that if this is you… you’re not alone.

This Post Will Cover The Following: 

1) Demographics that are most anxious about dental and orthodontic visits

2) Why this form of anxiety shouldn’t be ruled out as irrational

3) Techniques and treatment options to ease dental and orthodontic anxiety

These Individuals Are Most Affected By Dento/Odontophobia

The demographics of those with dental and orthodontic anxiety are fascinating. This fear is prevalent globally where 3% of adults in industrialized countries may have dentophobia and avoid going to a dentist at all.

Other statistics that might surprise you: 

  • Women are more fearful going to the dentist when compared to men – with nearly 3% of men and almost 5% of women being affected by dentophobia
  • Although roughly 1 in 3 people with braces are under the age of 18, orthodontic anxiety can happen regardless of how old you are
  • 76% of individuals of lower socioeconomic status are prone to being more dentally anxious

Trips to the Dentist or Orthodontist Aren’t A Walk In The Park

Some people may shrug their shoulders at dentophobia. But as mentioned, more than 1 in 3 Americans (36%) have a fear of dental treatment.

There’s dozens, if not hundreds, of subreddits about those with dentophobia and odontophobia. The anecdotes are personal. And reveal the true stress and anxiety thousands face when thinking of their next dentist appointment.

A great deal of celebrities are affected by dental anxiety as well. Celebrities like Kevin Hart, Jennifer Aniston, Harry Styles, and more. Even former pro basketball player, Dwayne Wadegets nervous about seeing his cosmetic dentist. 

A study conducted by The American Association of Orthodontists revealed that roughly half of athletes (49%) have untreated tooth decay, and most of them had early signs of gum inflammation.

Dentophobists aren’t necessarily scared of the dentist, per se.

The fear also comes from drills, needles, blood, noises, choking, smells, and more. 

There’s nothing irrational about that. And there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

The next section will include some techniques and treatment options to ease dental and orthodontic anxiety.

Distracting Your Nerves Is Key

Signs of dentophobia and odontophobia include chills, dizziness/lightheadedness, heart palpitations, excessive trembling and shaking.

Fortunately, there’s several techniques dentophobists and odontophobists can use right away. 

Trained professionals may recommend acupuncture, psychotherapy or hypnotherapy, and certain anxiety medications. 

Less invasive methods include relaxation breathing exercises, meditation and using noise-cancelling headphones to drown out the noise of drilling/suctioning. 


Avoiding your dentist or orthodontist shouldn’t be personal. There are good, honest doctors who can be trusted. 

When it comes to straightening your teeth, your voice should always be heard. Dana M. Goldberg (Nutrition consultant, wellness specialist, and clear aligner coach) can be your voice of reason along the way. 

Her Well+Aligned system offers 1:1 clear aligner coaching, workarounds to tackle food anxiety, and all of the support you need throughout this next chapter in your life. Check out the W+A resources page to learn more!

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