Conquer Your Fear of Dental Treatment

Voicing fears

Many people with aversions to seeking treatment from dental professionals attend their appointments anyway. But other folks’ distastes are so significant that they don’t go at all. When people never or hardly ever get dental care, they’re harming their teeth and overall oral health. This evasion can result in a multitude of conditions: cavities, plaque, tartar, loose teeth, gum disease and lost teeth.

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The best dental offices are devoted to the care and comfort of every patient. Your dental team is highly experienced at putting concerned patients at ease. Their expert and highly knowledgeable professionals—from the receptionist to the dental staff—are friendly and cheerful, and their first mission is to comfort you so you can relax when you’re at your dental visit.

Why Am I Afraid of Going to The Dentist?

The reasons behind a dental phobia can be deep and tough to identify. That’s where psychology comes in. Just knowing why you’re afraid can be the first step to conquering it. Do you identify with any of these possible causes?

1. The sensation of being confined and not in control

It can be very disconcerting to be in a chair with someone hovering over you. And having instruments and a drill in your mouth doesn’t help either. 

2. A feeling of embarrassment that it's been too long since you've seen the dentist

If it’s been quite a while—years? decades?—since the last time an individual visited a dentist or other oral healthcare provider, his (or her) teeth may be in such poor condition that he’s ashamed of them.

3. Bad memories of past dental visits

Those who were traumatized or negatively affected by previous dental visits might shy away from future dental treatment. The trauma could involve one or more events, such as pain, inferior care, or a staff member with an unfriendly demeanor. 

4. Low tolerance for pain

Yes, there can be some minor physical discomfort involved in a dental visit, but every treatment can be made more bearable for you with an oral analgesic and with, if needed, oral or intravenous sedation.

Overcome Your Fear of Dental Treatment

Overcoming your fear of dental treatment is a huge achievement, and carrying through with an appointment is a wonderful and life-changing breakthrough. Once you find yourself back in the dental chair, you’ll be glad (and relieved!) that you did it!

Dental Fear FAQs

To overcome a fear of the dentist, openly communicating your concerns with your dentist is essential. They can provide reassurance and take things at a pace that suits you. Gradually expose yourself to dental visits, starting with simple check-ups, and build trust in your dentist’s expertise. During appointments, practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing or playing soothing music.

Understanding the procedures and knowing what to expect can also help alleviate anxiety. Remember that modern dentistry focuses on patient comfort, and your dentist is there to ensure your well-being.

Dental phobia and anxiety can stem from various factors, including fear of pain due to past negative experiences, the sound of dental equipment, the sensation of loss of control while in the dentist’s chair, or a fear of judgment about oral hygiene. Other stories, dental-related media, or the unknown can also influence it. Understanding the root cause of your dental anxiety is the first step toward addressing and managing it effectively, often with the help of a supportive dentist or therapist.

Dental anxiety can affect people of all ages, backgrounds, and dental histories. It’s a common issue that impacts a significant portion of the population. Children, in particular, may experience dental anxiety due to fear of the unknown, while adults may develop it from past negative experiences or other triggers. The key is recognizing that dental anxiety can affect anyone and seeking appropriate strategies to address and manage it for better oral health and overall well-being.

Managing dental anxiety involves several strategies. Start by openly discussing your fears and concerns with your dentist so they can adapt the treatment to your needs. Consider relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or listening to calming music before and during appointments. Establish a signal, like raising your hand, to communicate discomfort during the procedure. Gradual exposure to dental visits can help desensitize fear, starting with less invasive check-ups. In some cases, therapy or medication may be recommended by a healthcare professional to address severe anxiety. The key is to tailor a plan that suits your needs and gradually build confidence in dental care.