Dental Phobia

Dental phobia

Dental phobia or dental anxiety is very common. Most people feel some kind of anxiety when visiting the dentist.

Main reasons for dental anxiety:

-          People are usually afraid that it will hurt when they are receiving dental treatment

-          The sound of the drill

-          Many patients don’t like the feeling of being numb (anaesthetized)

-          The needle

-          The water spray

-          Not feeling in control

-          Bad memory (trauma) from previous dental treatment that was associated with pain

-          Fear for diagnosis. Some people cannot face the reality and don’t want to have their suspicious ulcers or swellings diagnosed simply because they are afraid to hear that it is something serious.

What to do if you feel anxious about visiting the dentist and this anxiety has prevented you from seeing one even when you know that you need dental treatment?

There is one clip in the movie What about Bob that I think explains a lot about how to overcome the fear and start gaining back the confidence and collect the courage to see a dentist; Babysteps.

It can take four or even more visits before a phobia patient is ready to open the mouth and receive treatment. It takes patience and time. It might even take some calming medication for the first visits before trying treatment without medication.

What is the most important factor in overcoming the fear and feeling comfortable with your dentist?

-          A compassionate and understanding dentist.

Not all dentists have the skills to understand and treat patients that suffer from dental phobia. It is important to find one that is prepared to treat your phobia before your teeth.

It is almost an art to treat patients that are scared to even sit in the dental chair.

Many times relatives and friends can recommend their dentist if they are happy with her/him. You can nowadays use the internet and the search engines to find dentists or clinics that specialize in treating phobia patients.

Many patients are worried that they might need a lot of treatment because they haven’t been to the dentist for a long time. That is many times not true and many patients are surprised that they need very little treatment or no treatment at all.  

Two dentists of the members on askyourdentist.com made treating patients with anxiety their special interest.

Dr Rob Endicot

Dr Richard Charon