An estimated 20% of people experience dental anxiety, but less than half this number
experience dental phobia, a severe fear that prevents people from going to the dentist entirely.
Dental anxiety and dental phobia prevent patients all over the world from seeking the
preventative care they need as well as restorative care. Many dentists are experienced in
helping patients with dental phobia get the care they need without experiencing debilitating
stress and anxiety over the event.
How can the right dentist help you overcome your dental phobia?
Schedule a Meeting
It’s important to find a dentist you can trust and communicate with regarding your dental
phobia. Find a dentist who cares and is sensitive to your needs and understands that everyone
tolerates pain differently.
Schedule a meeting with a potential dentist to see how you feel about them. This meeting
won’t necessarily be a consultation, it’s just a meeting—tell yourself that you are not going to
get any dental work done, just talk to the dentist to see how you feel about potentially moving
Review Techniques to Help You Feel More in Control
Once you find a dentist that you like and decide you want to pursue treatment with, you and
your dentist can discuss utilizing techniques to help you feel more in control of your experience
in the dentist’s chair.
One of these techniques is having the dentist explain the procedure to you in detail. This
explanation includes exactly what will happen and even showing you different tools that will be
used and explaining to you their purpose and how long they will be used for and what you can
expect to feel.
You and your dentist can also agree on a signal that you can use when you need a break during
the procedure. Some patients also find it helpful to use headphones to listen to familiar and
relaxing music during the procedure to help them feel calmer.
Consider Sedation Dentistry
If you find that you’re still uncomfortable with the idea of going to the dentist for any type of
treatment, it may be beneficial to find a dentist who utilizes sedation dentistry.
Sedation dentistry is designed specifically for people who experience dental anxiety or dental phobia to help them relax to their comfort level while at the dentist. Many dentists use sedation dentistry to help patients with legitimate fears of the dentist to receive the care that they need.
Your dentist can customize your level of sedation, from lightly relaxed to completely asleep
(general anesthesia). Talking with your dentist about the different types of sedation dentistry
can help you choose the right one for the procedure you need.
If you’re not able to even speak to a dentist or schedule a meeting, it might be helpful to first
seek the help of a counselor or therapist who can talk with you about your fears and work with
you to overcome them.
Dental phobia doesn’t have to stop you from getting your smile taken care of. You have options to overcome your dental phobia to help your smile stay healthy. You can begin by scheduling a meeting with a dentist, or maybe your first step is to speak with a counselor. Dental phobia gets easier once you begin addressing your fears!