I’m Afraid of the Dentist. What Can I Do?

female patient afraid of the dentist

If you’re afraid of the dentist, you’re certainly not alone. Studies indicate that up to 75 percent of Americans have suffered from some degree of dental anxiety or phobia. These fears can be common, but they become problematic when they keep you from seeking the dental care you need (and deserve). Here, our team at TLC Dental Center offers some advice for overcoming your fear of the dentist so you can maintain a healthy, sparkling smile for many years to come.

Dental anxiety doesn’t have to limit your quality of life. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call our Cherry Hill, NJ practice at (856) 667-1001.

Understand that You Are Normal

Many patients are ashamed of their dental phobia, which only perpetuates an already harmful cycle. The first step in taking control of your fears is to understand that you are not alone. Millions of people are afraid of the dentist. Acknowledging your fears can play a major role in alleviating them.

Talk to Your Dentist about Your Fears

If you’re afraid of the dentist, talk to someone about it. Specifically, speak with our team here at TLC. We understand that the dentist’s office can trigger feelings of fear, nervousness, and anxiety, and we are committed to helping you navigate those emotions. Dr. Julie Kardon and our entire team are dedicated to providing compassionate care to our patients so their experience can be as pleasant as possible.

Consider Sedation Dentistry

Advancements in methods and technology have proven beneficial in the dental field. This is especially true in the realm of sedation dentistry. Sedation induces relaxation and calms the nerves so patients can enjoy a more comfortable dental experience.

There are several types of sedation available. At our Cherry Hill practice, Dr. Kardon frequently uses oral conscious sedation. With this method, medication is administered approximately one hour prior to the dental appointment. The sedative type and dosage are determined by several factors, including age, weight, and medical history. Dr. Kardon will choose the option most suitable for you.

This is referred to as conscious sedation because patients are still able to breathe on their own, unlike general anesthesia in a hospital setting. Most patients report feeling euphoric and relaxed – and many even sleep during their procedure.

Why Do I Have Dental Anxiety?

There are a number of reasons why people are afraid of the dentist. For some, it is related to a past traumatic dental experience. Fears like this can even be passed down from parent to child. If your mother was constantly anxious at the dental office, chances are you feel some fear as well. Other causes include:

  • Fear of needles
  • Fear of pain
  • Embarrassment
  • Feelings of helplessness or loss of control

Understanding the Symptoms of Dental Anxiety

Most individuals with dental anxiety recognize that their fear is irrational. However, awareness does little to address the problem. This may result in patients only going to the dentist when they are in severe pain. Understanding the warning signs of dental anxiety can help you identify the issue. This may encourage you to visit the dentist regularly. Some of the most common symptoms of dental phobia include:

  • Restlessness the night before an appointment
  • Feeling physically ill at the thought of being in the dental chair
  • Anxiety that escalates on the way to the office or in the waiting room
  • Feeling claustrophobic when dental instruments are placed in the mouth

If you exhibit any of the warning signs listed above, you may be suffering from dental anxiety. Our team at TLC Dental Center can help address your needs.

Contact Our Cherry Hill, NJ Practice Today

Being afraid of the dentist is normal, but it doesn’t have to affect your oral health. If you have dental anxiety, reach out to a team member at TLC Dental Center. Contact us online or call us at (865) 667-1001.