Dealing with Dental Anxiety and Fear

//Dealing with Dental Anxiety and Fear
Dealing with Dental Anxiety and Fear 2017-05-28T12:09:35+00:00


Between 9% to 20% of Americans avoid going to the dentist due to anxiety or fear. So if you’re worried about anxiety or fear, you’re not alone. There are many reasons why some people have dental phobia and anxiety. Some common reasons include:

  • -fear of pain: fear of pain is a common reason for avoiding the dentist, and even moreso when it comes to oral surgery
  • -fear of injections: many people are terrified of needles, especially when they’re in and around their mouth
  • -fear of anesthesia: some people fear or don’t like the numbness and side effects associated with anesthetics
  • -fear of loss of control: it’s common for people to feel helpless as they sit in the dental chair with their mouth open

dental vibe

At Three Rivers, we’re committed to helping you overcome your anxieties and providing the most comfortable experience possible. The staff will do whatever they can to reduce stress, anxiety, fear and provide painless, quick treatments. This includes facilities such as:

  • -warm blankets to help you relax
  • -personalized music playing through the procedure
  • -DentalVibe certified dentist for pain-free injections*

Please remember that we cannot accommodate for issues we aren’t aware of. So please talk to Dr. Khan and his team, and let them know your fears and anxieties. Proper communication is the key to a great experience at any medical facility.

*at an additional cost

Here are some tips to help reduce dental fear and anxiety:

Talk to the dentist – The dentist is not a mind reader.  Though it can be hard to talk about irrational fears with a stranger, the dentist can take extra precautions during visits if fears and anxiety are communicated.

Bring a portable music player – Music acts as a relaxant and also drowns out any fear-producing noises.  Listening to calming music throughout the appointment will help to reduce anxiety.

Agree on a signal – Many people are afraid that the dentist will not know they are in significant pain during the appointment, and will carry on the procedure regardless.  The best way to solve this problem is to agree on a “stop” hand signal with the dentist.  Both parties can easily understand signals like raising the hand or tapping on the chair.

Spray the throat – Throat sprays (for example, Vicks® Chloraseptic® Throat Spray) can actually control the gag reflex.  Two or three sprays will usually keep the reflex under control for about an hour.

Take a mirror – Not being able to see what is happening can increase anxiety and make the imagination run wild.  Watching the procedure can help keep reality at the forefront of the mind.

Sedation – If there is no other way to cope, sedation offers an excellent option for many people.  There are several types of sedation, but the general premise behind them is the same: the patient regains their faculties after treatment is complete.

Ask about alternatives – Advances in technology mean that dental microsurgery is now an option. Lasers can be used to prepare teeth for fillings, whiten teeth and remove staining.  Discuss all the options with the dentist and decide on one that is effective and produces minimal anxiety.

If you have questions or concerns about how the dentist can help you overcome anxiety and fear, please contact the office.