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Dental Anxiety and Fear

For many, the fear of dental appointments can be a cause of anxiety.  Some people visualize a drill-wielding man in a white coat just waiting to cause discomfort.  The reality, however, is quite different.  The comfort, relaxation, and happiness of the patient is the primary focus of our dental practice.  Our staff will do whatever they can to reduce anxiety, allay fears, and provide painless, quick treatments. There are also a wide variety of safe anesthetics available to eliminate pain and reduce anxiety during routine appointments.

How can one overcome dental anxiety?

Dental anxiety and fear can be overwhelming.  It is estimated that as many as 3 out of 10 people do not visit a dental office at all because they are too frightened. Receiving regular dental check-ups and cleanings is incredibly important and are the easiest way to maintain excellent oral hygiene and reduce the need for more complex treatments.

Here are some tips to help reduce dental fear and anxiety:

Talk to us – We can't read minds. It may be difficult to talk about fears with a stranger, but we can take extra precautions during visits when fears and anxiety have been communicated.

Sedation – Sedation is an excellent option for those who have difficulty coping with their anxiety.  There are several types of sedation, but the general premise behind them is the same: to alleviate fear and stress and to make the procedure easier, while allowing patients to quickly bounce back once the procedure is over.

Bring a portable music player – Music acts as a relaxant and also drowns out any fear-producing noises.  Listening to calming music throughout an appointment will help to reduce anxiety.

Agree on a signal – Many people are afraid that the dentist will not know they are in significant pain during the appointment and will continue with the procedure regardless.  The best way to solve this problem is to agree on a “stop” hand signal.  Both parties can easily understand signals such as raising the hand or tapping on the chair.

Spray the throat – Throat sprays (for example, Vicks® Chloraseptic® Throat Spray) can actually control the gag reflex.  Two or three sprays will usually keep the reflex under control for about an hour.

We can photograph every step of the way – Not being able to see what is happening can increase anxiety and make the imagination run wild.  Watching the procedure can help keep reality at the forefront of the mind.