Do you fear visiting the dentist?Not a day goes by at my dental office in Fontana, CA that a patient doesn’t say that they fear visiting the dentist.  I often hear the statement, “No offense Doc, but I hate dentists.”

Why Do People Fear Visiting the Dentist?

One’s anxiety or fear of visiting the dentist can occur for many reasons.  Oftentimes it stems from an uncomfortable experience in the patient’s past.  Other patients have felt that their previous dentist talked down to them and wouldn’t listen to them during their visits.  In addition, children may have had older siblings or a parent tell them that going to the dentist can be painful.  The mouth is an sensitive part of the body.  People may feel ashamed to have a stranger look inside.  This may be especially true if they are self-conscious about how their teeth appear.

Some symptoms of dental phobia include:  Avoiding the dentist even when you have severe dental infections;  an inability to get a good night’s sleep the night before a dental visit;  panic or trouble breathing when tools are placed in the mouth during a dental visit;  the thought of a dental visit makes you physically ill.

What to do if You Fear the Dentist

One of the best things to do if you have anxiety or fears about your visit is to talk to your dentist about your fear.  If he or she has the proper training, your visits should always be comfortable.  Dentists who are at ease treating fearful patients will calmly explain the procedure, ask patients how they are doing during the treatment, and give the patient the opportunity to take breaks.

Some techniques that you may use to help ease your fears during your dental visits are to employ distraction techniques such as listening to music or watching TV. Controlled breathing is also an excellent way to lower your heart rate and relax your muscles. It is also helpful to go to the dentist with a trusted friend or relative to give you support during your visit.

Dentists who specialize in helping patients with dental phobia usually have several additional techniques they can use to get patients to relax. Nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral sedatives, and intravenous anesthesia are safe and effective methods to make your dental experiences pleasant and painless.

If you fear visiting the dentist, give our office a call today. We are always happy to discuss methods to make your visit to the dentist pleasant and fear free.