When You’re Afraid of the Dentist

We mentioned in last week’s post that one of the reasons people don’t go to the dentist for months or even years at a time is fear.

If you’re afraid of the dentist, we understand and you’re definitely not alone: reports that between 9 and 20 percent of Americans don’t go to the dentist because of fear or anxiety. In fact, severe anxiety regarding dental visits even has a name: dental phobia, a condition that can leave those who suffer from it terrified and outright panicked when they think of going to the dentist and will only visit a dentist’s office when they are in considerable – if not extreme – pain.

She doesn’t really look terrified…. But many people are very afraid of dentists and/or dental procedures. If you are, rest assured that you’re not alone and that your Plano dentist will be happy to make sure you’re as comfortable and anxiety-free as possible during your visit.

If you suffer from dental phobia, you may need to see a psychiatrist.

If your fear of the dentist is less than phobic, read below for some tips on how to get over your fear of visiting your Plano dentist.

  • The very first thing you should do is to tell your dentist about your fears. Doing so will help him know how best to treat you and how to help assuage your fears. If you’ve steeled yourself for the visit and have called the dentist’s office to make an appointment, let the receptionist know of your fear. He or she may ask that the dentist call you before making an appointment so that the dentist can help you overcome your fear before you even come to the office.
  • If you haven’t been to a dentist in years, understand that procedures have improved considerably in even the past two or three years, let alone five or 10 or more. There are many different treatments and methods available today that will make your visit painless and very comfortable.
  • Make sure you’re comfortable with the dentist and trust him. That’s why it’s a good idea to make an appointment to just meet the dentist and his staff so that you they can start building that all-important trusting bond between you and the dentist.
  • Ask the dentist about his use of sedation techniques or medications. He may recommend an anti-anxiety medication you can take. He also may offer sedation dentistry at his office, which entails taking medication orally or via an injection, or using nitrous oxide during your visit so that you’re relaxed and calm.
  • Consider practicing some relaxation techniques before and during your appointment. You can ask your dentist for some recommendations before you come in for treatment.
  • Your dentist probably will do this himself, but if he doesn’t, before starting the procedure, work out a signal you can give him that lets him know he should stop. This means you are entirely in control of the procedure and allows you to take a break as needed (or leave the dentist, entirely; not recommended if you’re in the midst of anything more than a teeth cleaning).

Plano dentist Dr. Darren Dickson and his staff are experienced when it comes to helping people who fear the dentist feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible during their visits. If you’re afraid of dentists and/or dental procedures, feel free to call us or send us an e-mail message at [email protected] to schedule an appointment to discuss your anxiety.

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