Do you get nervous, anxious or just plain terrified when going to the dentist?

Dental phobia is a serious condition that you can overcome!

Has anyone ever told you “Oh come on, nobody likes going to the dentist. Just suck it up and get it over with. It can’t really be that bad.” People who talk like this couldn’t be any more wrong.

For some people, going to the dentist really is that bad. There are a variety of reasons, but many people share a common fear of dental procedures. The good news is that there is hope – you can be free of your dental phobia, but you have to seek help, and get answers. If you do, you could end up a success story like my patient Travis. Once terrified of even setting foot in a dentist’s office, Travis was able to overcome his fears, and finally get the dental treatment he needed.

Travis suffered from just about every dental phobia imaginable. Remember that usually patients are only afflicted by one or two of the fears listed below. Travis was an extreme case, but even he was able to overcome his fears.

Fear of dentists in general

Probably one of the most common fears, a fear of “the dentist” is usually caused by a bad experience in the past. People tend to associate the characteristics of their own dentist with every dentist. If you have come across a particularly mean, scary, or rude dentist, remember that not all people are the same, including dentists. Most dentists are in fact kind, caring people who want to help you have a healthy smile. Just because a patient may have had one bad experience, does not mean that all dentists are evil.

Fear of embarrassment

Some people are afraid that their teeth are in such bad condition that the dentist will judge them or lecture them about their hygiene. This seems like a legitimate fear for someone with extremely poor teeth, but you have to keep in mind that dentists are trained specifically for treating really bad teeth. It is a dentist’s job to help people with teeth problems, not frighten them or make them feel guilty. A dentist’s main goal is to make your teeth healthier and better looking. Dentists see hundreds of people with extremely damaged teeth, and they are not out to judge or lecture – just help.

Fear of pain

Plenty of people are afraid that dental procedures will hurt. Luckily, there are lots of ways to stop patients from feeling pain. From pills to injections to intravenous painkillers, there are many different ways to stop patients from feeling the pain of a dental procedure.

Fear of losing control

This is often associated with a fear of the dentist, or a lack of trust in dentists. Many people are afraid that the dentist will take complete control, and possibly even perform procedures without the patient’s consent. Knowing, trusting and becoming comfortable with your dentist are all important for curing this fear. It also helps to keep in mind that you, the patient, are actually the one in control. You must give consent for any treatment, and ultimately you can get up and leave whenever you want.
If you or someone you know is experiencing the symptoms described above, you probably want to speak to your dentist about treatment options for dental phobia. A tell-tale sign of dental phobia is when your fears prevent you from getting the dental treatment you need. If you’d like to discuss your dental phobias, and possible treatment options, please feel free to click here to schedule a free consultation.

Next week we will follow up this discussion with a look at some treatment options for dental phobias.

We’ll talk about the many different options available to help people overcome their dental fears.

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