Dealing with Dental Phobia

Do you fear going to the dentist, or even the thought of making an appointment with the dentist?
Has your mouth and oral hygiene been neglected as a result of this fear?

Most dental fears develop as a result of a direct experience. Meaning, you have had a traumatic or uncomfortable experience with a dental procedure in the past. Oftentimes

people let that bad experience prevent them from going back to the dentist. Because of this, their oral hygiene suffers, resulting in embarrassment, and systemic problems.

Keep in my mind that each dentist is different! Some may be gentler than others. Be sure to thoroughly research your dentist before making an appointment.

Here are some tips for dealing with dental stress, fear, or anxiety :

  • RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH - Anxiety is usually caused by the unknown. If you are unfamiliar with a procedure or a term that the dentist uses, look it up. There are a ton of resources on the internet (including this one) that are meant to help educate patients about procedures.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the dentist or dental hygienist questions - Never feel intimidated by the dentist or any healthcare provider. Our job is to make you feel comfortable, and more importantly, to ensure that you understand any and everything dealing with your mouth.
  • Ask for sedation
  • Try some relaxation techniques - For instance, before the procedure, take 3 deep breaths. Slowly in, and slowly out. Close your eyes and slowly relax your body. Take your mind away from the current situation.
  • Bring your I-pod or mp3 player to the appointment - Music has astonishing neurological effects on the brain. If you need music to help relax, don’t hesitate to bring it with you. Actually, many offices will provide you with music, movies, television, and virtual reality goggles, to help distract you and ease the tension.
  • Ask for topical anesthetic - Make sure the dentist applies topical anesthetic before administering local anesthetic with the needle. Topical anesthetic is gently massaged in your mouth with a q-tip. This lightly numbs the area so that you won’t feel the needle as much.