How to Overcome Fear and Anxiety at the Dentist

Dentist Chair and Magnifying Glasses

Odontophobia, or fear of the dentist, is a bit of a misnomer. Phobias are usually irrational or inconsistent with reality. However, the reality of the dentist’s office is that it is always a very normal reaction to be uncomfortable with various aspects of our dental work. From some of the sharp needles and loud tools we use, to the simple matter of having someone poking around your mouth that close to your face, everyone from children and teens to adults and seniors can experience some fear or anxiety when they come to see us. 

The good news is that there’s an answer to your problems. While we haven’t yet cracked the code to completely pain-free dentistry, anxiety-free dentistry simply requires two steps. First, identify your triggers. Second, work with your dentist to find a way to minimize or redirect your reactions, or better yet, avoid the trigger altogether. In this blog, we’ll discuss some of the common trigger our patients experience, and some of the creative ways we can beat these fears.

 

Pain

Due to the wonderful advances of modern medicine, dentistry is as painless as ever. That is to say, it is mostly pain-free. Today, patients usually face the most discomfort when pain medication wears off after surgery. This is best avoided by working with us to ensure you’re taking the proper medication, and finding ways to relieve any undue stress or activity. 

Overall, the worst pain patients will feel is the pain of tooth decay, broken teeth, or cavities finally noticed by that last bite of ice cream. The best way to avoid these painful dental experiences? Preventative care! A pain-free experience is possible when you take excellent care of your teeth morning, noon, and night.

Many of the negative reactions people experience during all kinds of dental procedures are caused not by pain, but by our fearful anticipation of how bad the pain might be. Talk with your dentist to evaluate your tolerance for pain, precisely what you can expect from your procedure, and whether or not pain management tools like anesthesia might be right for you.

 

Loss of Control

For many patients, the idea of being under the influence of anesthesia or otherwise suffering a loss of control of their physical nerves or their mental awareness. As above, it’s 100% normal to have some fears and anxieties before any kind of surgery or procedure. If you’re unsure about how you’ll react, or if you’re absolutely sure you’ll react in any negative way, talk to your dentist to gain a better understanding of what kinds of pain management are available, and how you can either stay in control or find an alternative method.

 

Environment

We really wish we could attend to our patients on a beautiful beach, or in a peaceful zen garden. Fortunately, we can get you close to your ideal environment with all the media you desire. Bring in a pair of headphones to drown out the sound with some music, distract your mind by listening to an audiobook, or soothe your nerves with some meditative sounds. We provide TV screens for our patients who might want to put on their favorite Disney movie or catch up on the latest Netflix binge watch. Due to some of the bright lights in the chair and around the office, many patients wear sunglasses or sleep masks (as long as you don’t get too comfortable and fall asleep on us… it’s happened). However we can improve your experience, let us know and we’ll be more than happy to accommodate as best we can.

 

The Mean and Scary Dentist

Have you ever heard of “The Dentist Episode”? It’s a common trope in television where one of the main characters is terrified of the dentist, but must overcome their extreme fear due to the equally extreme pain of a broken tooth or cavity. We’re dentists. We know there are definitely some horror movie-like perceptions of our profession. Although we might find some cool costumes as Halloween approaches, we go to great lengths to make sure that your experience with our dentist is one you’ll enjoy at every step. Come talk to us, get to know our expert professionals, and dispel any spooky myths about what really goes on when you’re in the dentist’s chair. 

Author
Belmont Dentistry

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