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Dental Phobia: What Causes Fear of Dentists and How It Can Be Treated

By Bruce Wilderman on January 14, 2015

A woman's smile seen up closeDental phobia refers to an intense fear of the dentist or a general sense of worry and anxiety when it comes to undergoing dental care. While some level of worry is common with any sort of medical checkup, cases of dental phobia are marked by an intense fear of a dental visit and even full-blown panic attacks.

Artistic Expressions Dentistry has a number of options available to address dental phobia, which explains why we have a strong patient base in the Philadelphia area. Let's take a moment to consider how we reduce fear and anxiety through comprehensive, patient-centered general dentistry services.

Reasons That Dental Phobia Develops

The most common reason for dental phobia occurring is poor experiences at the dentist's office. Feelings of pain and discomfort associated with major dental work or poorly performed dental work can lead to associating all forms of dental care with pain. This association between negative feelings and dental work can lead to an anxiety about future dental work, causing an aversion to dental visits in general.

Thankfully there are many different ways for dental phobia to be prevented, avoided, and addressed.

Avoiding Dental Phobia Begins Early

One of the best ways to prevent dental phobia from developing is to provide excellent dental care beginning at an early age. This means having a good pediatric dentist or family dentist around to treat your children and help them understand that dental treatments are good for their health and wellness. Parents should take some time finding a family dentist they trust and who provides a warm and inviting environment for their young patients.

Dental Sedation Helps Ease Anxiety

For older patients, anxiety management is key for reducing and addressing dental phobia. One great option for this is sedation dentistry. There are a few dental sedation options that are common:

  • Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas) - By inhaling nitrous oxide, patients will achieve a calm and relaxed state.
  • Oral Conscious Sedation - Taking a pill or liquid sedative before visiting the dentist, patients will be free from worry by the time they arrive at the office.
  • IV Sedation - During the dental visit, patients can have sedative medicine administered by an IV drip to ensure a calm overall state.

The ideal sedation option for you can be discussed during a visit with your dentist.

Patient Education Alleviates Fears

The fear of the unknown is common with many dental and medical treatments. That's where properly explaining the risks, benefits, and overall process of treatments can be so important. By providing patients with ample information about the treatment that they will undergo, they are able to master their anxiety and feel confident about their treatment options.

Treating Patients with Care Is the Solid Foundation

As you may have noticed from all of the above solutions to address dental phobia, the basis is the same: helping patients have positive experiences that promote confidence and caring. This is something we always strive to provide at our practice, which is why so many patients return to our team for their dental health needs.

Schedule a Consultation at Artistic Expressions Dentistry

For more information about treating and preventing dental phobia and what we can do to prevent it and treat it, we encourage you to contact our cosmetic and restorative dental care practice today. At Artistic Expressions Dentistry, we will work closely with you to enhance your health and wellness.

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400 Swamp Rd
Doylestown, PA 18901

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