Q. What options do I have for dental phobia?
A. Dental phobia is not the same thing as a simple fear of the dentist. Dental phobia is hallmarked by an intense avoidance that leads many sufferers to put off even the most routine procedures. However, dental issues tend to worsen over time. Putting off seeing the dentist can result in extensive procedures that take multiple visits to complete.
Thankfully, there is no need to suffer alone. Those with a severe dental phobia may need to seek treatment from a mental health professional. Those with a less severe phobia, though, may benefit from the following strategies:
Have a conversation: Today’s dentists are extremely aware of the effects of dental phobia, and most are eager to help. Soft music, movies, warm blankets, and other sensory aids are available in many offices. Talk to the staff when you make your appointment, and they can have a cozy setup waiting for you when you arrive.
Explain your triggers: Your dentist is able to make numerous simple modifications to personalize your treatment and help you avoid your triggers. For example, you might agree on a hand signal to let the dentist know that you need a break. The chair might not need to lean all the way back. If you need extensive dental work, your dentist might be able to break it up over multiple visits, or do it all at once, depending on your preferences. Your dentist is on your side, so let him or her know what you need to feel comfortable.
Try sedation: Sedation dentistry has revolutionized treatment for those with dental phobias. If you fear losing control, try nitrous oxide, a mild sedative that is delivered through a mask over your nose. You can pull off the mask at any time, and the effects will wear off quickly. If you prefer to sleep through the procedure, ask about oral or IV sedation. Just remember that for anything stronger than nitrous oxide, you must bring someone to your appointment who can drive you home.
Married dentists Chad and Alexandra Schnabel welcome you to Savannah Dental Solutions. From caring children’s dentistry to high-tech cosmetic procedures and even full-mouth reconstruction, we blend the latest technology with traditional customer-oriented values. To start your journey to better oral health, call us today at (912) 354-1366.