How to Cope with a Fear of the Dentist

added on: February 26, 2020
Man looking fearful at the dentist

Suffering from dental anxiety can not only take a toll on mental health but also oral and overall health. When someone has a fear of the dentist, they likely don’t visit the dentist as often as they should, if not at all. Without regular dental appointments, small problems can progress into larger problems and cause infections and even tooth loss. If a fear of the dentist is getting in the way of visiting the dentist regularly, we have several ways to help you cope. See how Burkburnett Family Dental can help you visit the dentist without letting your fear get in the way.

Fear or Phobia?

Although fears and phobias are generally discussed interchangeably, they are quite different. A fear is simply a strong dislike that may cause one to avoid something. A phobia, on the other hand, is a much stronger fear. It usually results in extreme distress, anxiety, and avoidance and can disrupt your daily life. Those who have a dental phobia truly believe visiting the dentist will cause them harm. Those who have a fear of the dentist dislike going and will usually put off their appointment. A phobia will cause nightmares while a fear necessarily won’t.

There are a few ways you can relieve your symptoms enough to get you to visit us for an appointment.

Causes of Dental Fear and Dental Phobia

Bad experiences in the past usually cause a fear of the dentist or phobia. If you had an extremely painful experience, lack of empathy from a dentist, or find the noises produced by dental instruments, these can cause you to develop a phobia or fear. There’s an estimated 4.6% of women and 2.7% of men who experience dental phobia. You might also experience a fear or phobia if you feel embarrassed by your oral health. When you visit our dental office, we are not here to judge, only to treat your smile to our best capabilities. We want you to have a healthy smile, regardless of where we need to start.

Overcoming Dental Fear and Dental Phobia

An immediate way to feel more comfortable when visiting the dentist is by opting for sedation dentistry. We offer oral conscious sedation to help our patients feel completely relaxed so they can get through their procedure entirely stress-free. You might even fall asleep with this treatment. We will give you a pill to take the night before your procedure so you can get a good night of sleep. Then before your procedure, you will take another pill which will keep you feeling relaxed the entire time you’re visiting us. All we ask is that you arrange for a ride to and from your appointment.

If sedation dentistry doesn’t completely help, you can also consider talking to your doctor about therapy to overcome your fear and phobia. It’s also important to find a dentist you feel comfortable with. If visiting your current dentist terrifies you, they’re likely not the right dentist for you.

If you’re interested in visiting the dentist without experience severe dental anxiety or phobia, please contact Burkburnett Family Dental and ask us about sedation dentistry. We’re here to make you feel as comfortable as possible during your time with us. Please call (940) 569-4901 or request an appointment online.