Tips On Overcoming Dental Anxiety & Phobia

For many years, many patients have been turned away from the going to the dentist because they have feelings of helplessness, loss of control, or have anxieties about visiting the dentist. This is unfortunate because routine dental care is essential to maintain good oral health. The good news is that dentists encounter people with dental anxiety in their offices on a daily basis, in fact, dentistry has changed to make people with dental phobia feel better in their dental office.  Don’t let your phobia or bad experience deter you from going to the dentist.

How dental anxiety affects your health

Being afraid of the dentist happens to 9% to 15% of Americans so you’re not alone. However going to the dentist, receiving preventive care, and addressing problems is critical to your dental and overall health. Letting your dental phobia prevent you from going to the dentist or receiving recommended treatments can lead to negative results like…

  • Stained teeth
  • Damaged teeth such as chipped or cracked teeth
  • Gum Disease
  • Tooth decay
  • Tooth Loss
  • Other dental problems going undetected such as TMJ, sleep apnea, and even oral cancer

Here are a few tips on how to deal with dental phobia.

Tip 1: Pick a Dentist who you feel comfortable with

If you’re anxious about visiting the dentist, you need to find a dentist who is a good listener and has your best interest at heart. Someone who understands your situation, and is able to empathize with you so you won’t feel stressed or anxious.  If you’re afraid of going to the dentist, we know making the first step is very important, and a dentist who understands and is familiar with these anxieties genuinely cares about your oral health.  

One way to find a dentist is to ask your family members and friends for recommendations as they generally like the dentist, otherwise they wouldn’t go back to them all the time. You can also search online for a dentist and read their reviews to see whether or not they had a good experience, and or whether they felt comfortable with them.

Tip 2: Be honest about your dental phobia

At Sloan Creek Dental, we want you more than anything to get the care you need. No matter the reason, such as fear of needles, or something else, let us know as we are familiar with these anxieties and we can find another alternative.

Tip 3: Ask questions about the procedure

Communication is the foundation of any good relationship.  Which is why prior to any procedure, Dr. Feng will go over what will be done so you’re aware of what will be done.  If you have specific questions about the procedure, or had a bad experience with dental pain, feel free to ask or mention it and Dr. Feng will be happy to address your concerns.

Tip 4: Bring someone with You

Bringing someone with you to a dentist appointment, whether a friend or family member, can provide an extra layer of support and assurance. By bringing in someone who isn’t afraid of dentists, that person can speak for you in times you can’t, increasing your control of the situation.

Tip 5: It's ok to take a break

A dentist who cares will take their time to make sure that you are comfortable and relaxed during your procedures. If you feel like you need to take a break during your dental treatment, let the dentist know and they will give you some time to take a breather.

Tip 6: Take precautions to reduce discomfort

Afraid of dental injections or have a fear of pain? Talk to your dentist about whether you can have a topical anesthetic to relieve the pain before receiving shots. Nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral sedatives, or other options may be available. For those with sensitive gag reflexes or fear of being choked, the x-rays may be your concern. Talk to your dentist about the possibility of panoramic x-rays, which are non-invasive. There are many options available to you that could get the inconvenience out of the process. Be open with your dentist about how both of you can get the dentist visit going.

Tip 7: Take good care of your teeth

This is the best tip for overcoming dental phobia.  With proper oral hygiene, you can be proactive in protecting your teeth from unwanted dental procedures.  Brush well, eat right, floss daily, and visit the dentist for regular checkups and you’ll be on the right path to excellent oral hygiene.  

Tip 8: Consider Sedation Dentistry

We provide 3 options of sedation dentistry to treat severe anxiety. Whether you’re facing a common procedure or a more complex procedure like implant placement or tooth extraction, we can work with you to find the right treatment that fits within your comfort level.  We offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral sedation, and IV sedation.  With either of these methods, your anxiety levels will decrease, you will feel calm and comfortable.

Sloan Creek Dental is here for you

Rather than dreading your dental appointment and leaving your mouth exposed to conditions you cannot identify, wouldn’t it be better if you went to a dentist you felt comfortable with? At Sloan Creek Dental, your dental experience will be a comfortable positive experience as your comfort is our priority.  We can help identify problems in the mouth that would not have been detected, allows you to understand how you can keep your mouth healthy, and to prevent problems that can cause anxiety.