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Overcoming Dental Phobia

Do you shudder when you think about making a call to schedule your appointment with the dentist? Are you one of the millions of Americans who shifts uncomfortably in dread anticipation as you wait in the reception room waiting for the dentist to call you back? Does the smell of antiseptic or the high-pitched whine of the dental drill send you running for the door? It’s likely that you’re suffering to some degree from a condition known as dental phobia. While 85% of patients have no fear of the dental chair, those who suffer from this condition may need a little help overcoming their phobia.

Battling Your Dental Phobia

The first thing you need to do to challenge your dental phobia is determine exactly what it is you’re afraid of. Every case of dental phobia is different, and most are based in some kind of negative experience in the dental chair in the patient’s past. Identifying the origin of the condition, or at least what brings it out, is important to finding the right technique to challenge it.

  • Fear of Pain – If the thing that scares you most about seeing the dentist is the potential for it to be a painful experience, then be sure to bring this up to your dentist. Dentist’s are familiar with patients who suffer from dental phobia and have multiple options for those who are afraid that the procedures will hurt.
  • Negative Past Experience – Second only to a fear of pain are those who have had a negative experience with a dentist in the past. It can be something as simple as having been over-billed, an insensitive dentist, or at worst a botched procedure. This one can be a challenge to overcome, but is best faced by giving each new practitioner a chance to be judged on their own merits, rather than your past experience.
  • Embarrassment – It’s not unusual for patients to dread the idea of someone looking into their mouth and judging them for months or years of poor dental hygiene. While this feeling is understandable it’s important to remember that your dentist is there to help you improve the health of your mouth, and waiting to see them is just going to make it worse. In fact, failing to get to the dentist promptly can result in permanent damage that could have been restored if caught earlier.
  • Cost Fears – A visit to the dentist can be a daunting prospect, especially if you have a fear of the dental bill you’re inevitably going to receive. Most dentist’s provide a series of options for those who are of limited means to tackle their dental bills, and free or low cost clinics are available in some areas.

Dr. Bob Dokhanchi has been helping patients in the Aurora IL area tackle concerns with dental phobia for years, and understands the struggles that come with the condition. An appointment at Fox Valley Dental Center guarantees a meeting with a compassionate staff who is willing to help you face your dental phobia and get back on track to exceptional dental health.

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