Approaching the Dentist with Dental Phobia

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Dentists are certainly victim to a certain stigma in modern society. They are considered as archetypally sinister, handing out pain and punishment with reckless abandon and no regard for us poor victims who have no choice but to put our teeth in their hands. This, unsurprisingly, is far from the truth. A dentist is like any other healthcare professional, concerned, with your well being and comfort. So if you have any problems with dentistry, including a phobia, it’s always worth contacting your dentist and having a chat about it, and if you find your dentist is less than approachable, then you are perfectly within your rights to look for one more amenable to your needs.

Approaching your dentist about your phobia

If you suffer from a dental phobia, it can help to approach your dentist prior to a regular check-up, or at the very least, prior to needing any major treatment. You can request a consultation during which you can discuss your phobia, and explain how you feel about your upcoming dental appointment. You can also ask any questions about what your dentist’s approach is when treating nervous or anxious patients. As in recent years dental phobia has become more properly addressed, many dentists will have incorporated practices that are geared towards helping anxious patients as much as possible.

This kind of consultation is virtually pressure and stress free. No treatment is taking place, it is merely a discussion that enables you to voice your fears and get to know your dentist in a calmer and more relaxed manner; without the chair, drill or light shining in your face. It is important that patients remember that the dental experience can be tailored to suit the individual and that requesting information and communicating openly with the dentist can remove the mystery and unknown element of the experience. 

What kind of accommodations can a dentist make for me if I suffer from a dental phobia?

There are a number of steps that a dentist can take to make you feel more comfortable during your appointment, and through a discussion with your dentist you should be able to ascertain which treatments will be best for you. These can include providing simple distractions, e.g. music or TV that you can focus on during the procedure, using a wand (a painless pen like device that injects anaesthetic at a painless and constant rate) rather than needle to apply anaesthetic if you are afraid of needles, or the use of numbing gels if you are afraid of the pain of local anaesthesia being injected.

There is a lot about the manner of your dentist that can put you at ease at well. By communicating with your dentist beforehand you can relate to him or her as a human being and see that they are concerned with making the experience as comfortable as possible. If you find yourself less than comfortable with your dentist’s attitude, then at this stage it is easy enough to find one who better suits you.

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