Should I talk to my dentist about my dental phobia?

Absolutely! In fact, if your dentist doesn’t take your fear seriously, find another dentist. The key to coping with dental anxiety is to discuss your fears with your dentist. Once your dentist knows what your fears are, he or she will be better able to work with you to determine the best ways to make you less anxious and more comfortable.

Here are some strategies to help you cope with dental anxiety and phobia:

  • If lack of control is one of your main stressors, actively participate in a discussion with your dentist about your treatment to ease your tension.
  • Ask your dentist to explain what’s happening at every stage of the procedure to help you mentally prepare for what’s to come.
  • Establish a signal – such as raising your hand – when you want the dentist to stop immediately. Use this signal whenever you are uncomfortable, need to rinse your mouth or simply catch your breath.

Nitrous oxide gas or IV sedation is also used to help control anxiety. Many dentists have anesthesia licenses for this very reason.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/03/2017.

References

  • Moore R. Brødsgaard I, Rosenberg N. The contribution of embarrassment to phobic dental anxiety: a qualitative research study. BMC Psychiatry 2004 (Apr 19) 4:10.
  • American Society of Dentist Anesthesiologists. Sedation Accessed 4/20/2017.
  • Armfield JM, Milgrom P. A clinician guide to patients afraid of dental injections and numbness. SAAD DIG 2011(Jan 27):33-9.

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