370 E South Temple, Ste 325 Salt Lake City, UT 84111

Do you feel anxious about seeing the dentist? If you yourself don’t, odds are you know someone who does. Dental anxiety is a fairly common phenomenon, one that can easily discourage people from attending their regular dental appointments. But what causes dental anxiety, and what can be done to overcome it?

Fear of Pain

We totally get it. No one likes being in pain. For some people, it goes beyond a simple dislike and goes straight into full blown anxiety. For the most part, basic dental procedures like x-rays and cleanings aren’t painful. More corrective procedures, however, such as a root canal, can be. That’s why we use anesthesia for our patients. We have a few different pain management options available, so we should be able to find something that will help alleviate any concerns about pain that you may have.

Previous Traumatic Experiences

Trauma is a deeply personal thing, and can have a huge impact on just about every aspect of life. The trauma doesn’t necessarily have to have anything to do with the dentist in order to cause dental anxiety, though it certainly can. Trauma involving the head or neck, previous healthcare experiences, and other traumatic experiences, such as abuse, can all trigger dental anxiety. Things like deep breathing, meditation, guided imagery, and progressive muscle relaxation can help ease feelings of anxiety so it’s easier to get dental care. You can even establish a signal with Dr. Updike or our other team members who may be helping you that will let us know that you need to take a break for a moment.


If you’ve ever felt self conscious about the state of your smile, we totally understand. Your smile and mouth are pretty personal, and it’s perfectly normal to feel some level of embarrassment if things aren’t as satisfactory as you would like. That embarrassment can trigger feelings of anxiety about having someone get up close and personal with your mouth. In this case, reframing your thoughts could be beneficial. It might help if you think about all the different people we’ve seen and helped with their dental care. Chances are pretty good that you don’t have anything we haven’t seen and taken care of before.

Dental anxiety can have a lot of causes. Fear of pain, previous traumatic experiences, and embarrassment are just a few potential triggers for people who experience dental anxiety. That’s why it’s so important to work with a dentist like Dr. Updike. We make it our mission to help you feel comfortable and welcome here at South Temple Dental. When you visit us, we’ll be sure to help you work through any anxiety so you can get the oral care you need.

Ready to set up an appointment? Contact us today.