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How to Cope With Dental Phobia

Reasons for fear

Ways to ease your anxiety

Medication options

Do you have dental phobia or are you just a little scared of the dentist? Either way, you can overcome your fear.

Dental phobia aka dentophobia keeps many from getting much needed dental care.

Not many love going to the dentist, most just tolerate it.

However, you may be seriously afraid or even traumatized at the thought of stepping into a dental office.

There are many reasons for this condition.  Knowing what caused your fear will help you find relief.

Reasons for dental fear

Your past ~ Maybe you had a very unpleasant dental appointment. Now you don't want to go back....to any dentist or hygienist.

Unfortunately there are some bad dentists and dental hygienists out there.

One bad dentist can do so much damage not only to his client but to everyone they tell. Bad dental news travels fast.

Because most dentists and hygienist understand how important it is for you to have a good experience, your comfort is a high priority.

If you hate going to the dentist so much that you stay away for 10 years we have done more harm than good.

Sedation dentistry is the only way for some dental fears to be overcome. Others may just need a few distractions along with a little patience and understanding.

Heard it from a friend:

If you hear about a bad dentist or hygienist don't write us all off. Keep asking around until you find someone who loves their dentist or hygienist. We are out there and we want to take good care of you...painlessly.

Can't get numb:

No doubt some people take longer to get numb. Dental anesthetics have come a long way. There are more choices. Old fashioned novacaine has been replaced. Newer anesthetics work better and quicker. Getting numb is doable and shouldn't be a deal breaker for you.

Ways to ease your anxiety

Be sure to let your dentist or dental hygienist know that you are afraid. Hiding it won't help. We are very happy to gently and patiently ease your dental anxiety. Here are some ideas:

Use an ipod - replace dental noises with your favorite tunes.

Watch a movie - some offices have monitors mounted on the ceiling for easy viewing from the chair.

Ask to sit up - if you are a little claustrophobic being flat on your back adds stress. A good dentist or hygienist will accommodate you

Lights out - turn off bright flourescent lights. The dental light provides enough light to work and is focused on your mouth....not in your eyes.

Room with a view - find an office with lots of windows. Natural light makes you happy and helps you relax. A nice view? All the better.


Need a little more than good lighting and a movie to beat dental phobia? Here are some more choices:

  • Nitrous oxide - laughing gas is not funny but does take the edge off your dental anxiety. Sometimes there is an extra charge for nitrous...well worth it if it helps.
  • Numbing rinse - for scaling and root planing or deep cleanings sometimes all you need is a numbing rinse. No needles!
  • Oraqix - a numbing gel that is painlessly placed in your gum pocket before scaling and root planing.
  • Local anesthetics - we don't use novacaine anymore. Lidocaine or septocaine are the best choices.
  • Sedation dentistry - also known as sleep dentistry. Wake me up when it's over...you don't really sleep. Just seems like it.

You can absolutely overcome dental phobia. Find a gentle, caring, and patient dentist or hygienist who is experienced in helping anxious patients. Good dentists and hygienists love nothing more than helping you make dentophobia a thing of the past.

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