Nearly 50 percent of people in the U.S. have some form of odontophobia—a mild to severe condition that prevents them from seeking the comprehensive oral health care they need. Sometimes this condition presents as dental anxiety, while other times, it can be incredibly stressful and debilitating.
Dr. Mojgan Mazhari and the entire team at Alexandria Dental Health & Smile Studio go to great lengths to understand severe dental phobia, and help in every way we can to put our patients at ease. Here are some suggestions to address the reasons for your fear of dental procedures.
Severe Dental Phobia and How an Alexandria Dentist Can Help
You deserve patient and compassionate care. So one of the first things to do is make an appointment for a meeting with a dentist and their professional team. This first meeting is simply that: no cleanings, no procedures. Your only goal is to have a consultation, get to know the professional care team and their approach, and determine if they understand your anxiety and have methods that can help.
Then, make an appointment for a procedure, such as a preventative care cleaning. You should be able to discuss with your dentist exactly what will happen and how. For example, some people reduce their anxiety by having the dentist explain step-by-step every aspect of a technique, including what tools are used and how, what you may—or may not—feel, as well as the timeframe for each segment of the procedure.
Your dentist might also recommend other ways to make you more comfortable during your visit, such as listening to your favorite music through headphones, or having a signal that indicates you’d like them to stop and give you a moment before moving forward.
Finally, you and your dentist might agree that a form of sedation dentistry—also known as relaxation dentistry—may be a more effective solution to calm severe dental phobia. Your dentist can customize a level of sedation, from lightly relaxed to completely asleep (general anesthesia) that helps reduce the symptoms of your fear.
Here’s another consideration: think about working with a counselor or therapist before making a dental appointment to get to the root of your phobia and feel more at ease.