Let’s Talk about your Dental Phobia

By Montefiore Medical Center
November 15, 2017

Routine Dental Care Bronx NYIntense fear or anxiety about visiting the dentist is not unusual. Between 9%-20% of Americans feel some kind of fear about sitting in the dentist’s chair. This is normal, but for some their fear is a profound and debilitating phobia. Dental phobia leaves feelings of intense anxiety and panic with those who have it. They often know their fears are unfounded, but they can’t do anything about it.

You might have dental phobia if:

  • You demonstrate avoidance behavior. For example, you will do anything to avoid visiting the dentist and will only do so if you have extreme dental pain.
  • You can’t sleep. Have you ever tossed and turned the night before your dental exam because you couldn’t stop thinking about it?
  • Escalating emotions. You cry or feel sick at the very idea of sitting in the dentist’s chair.
  • You find it difficult to breath during a dental procedure. Your body and mind feel intensely terrified when the dentist buts objects in your mouth.

Many things can cause dental phobia and anxiety. The most common are a fear of pain, a fear of injections, a fear of the effects of anesthetics, feeling like you don’t have control, or a fear of losing your personal space.

Start a conversation with your dentist

The best way to start overcoming your dental phobia is to talk with your dentist. Share your fears and anxieties and why dental visits make you feel that way. If your dentist dismisses your fears and doesn’t take you seriously, you may need to find a new dentist.

The main way to deal with your dental phobia is to talk about it. This will help your dentist know how to improve your experience and help you feel more comfortable. For example, if you fear not having complete control during a dental procedure, your dentist can talk you through the process and explain what is happening and why. This will help mentally prepare you for your treatment.

Schedule a consultation

As suggested, having a discussion with your dentist about your dental fear is the first step to overcoming it. At Montefiore Department of Dentistry, we look forward to addressing your questions and concerns. You can reach our office at 888-700-6623.

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