According to recent research, between 5% and 8% of people avoid the dentist because of dentophobia, or fear of the dentist. Closer to 20% only go to the dentist when treatment is absolutely necessary.

So if you’re one of those people that suffers dentophobia, you’re not alone.

Here are some of the ways to overcome fear of the dentist so you can get back to taking care of your oral health appropriately.

Understand Your Fear

There are several kinds of dentophobia. Some people fear being hurt in the dentist chair due to a lack of appropriate anesthesia whereas others are more frightened by the feeling of helplessness that sometimes comes from being in the dentist chair.

Understanding what your specifically afraid of will help you find a solution that’s tailored to suit you.

Be Picky

The best dentist is the one that you trust. Speak to them on the phone before you make an appointment and explain your concerns. The right dentist will be able to put you at ease by truly listening to you and responding in a way that understands your particular situation.

Dentists that try to tell patients there is nothing to fear without understanding the fear itself aren’t necessarily looking out for your best interests. Look for one that has suggestions for things they might try to help you overcome your fear.

Distract Yourself

While you’re in the dental chair, listening to music or an audio book can be a great way to take your mind off the work that’s being done. You’re more likely to give yourself anxiety when you focus on what you’re feeling in your mouth.

Ask About Sedation Options

Many patients with dentophobia choose dentists that offer sedation dentistry. With appropriate sedation, the patient doesn’t feel anything at all!

There are probably dentists in your area that offer sedation. If you can’t find that information on their websites, just give them a call and ask!

See A Psychologist

If your dentophobia is so bad that you don’t think you’ll be able to take any of the previous advice, you should consider seeing a psychologist. They may be able to help break down the fear so you can, at the very least, go in for a dental checkup.

Putting off checkups because of dentophobia is dangerous. Eventually, you’re likely to need dental treatment, so it’s better to take steps to work through your fear before that happens.

If you’re in need of any endodontic work and you live in the Richmond, VA area, contact East Coast Endodontics. Dr. Jesse Harris and his team would be happy to speak with you about how we can make your visit as gentle and pain-free as possible.

About the Author

Dr. Harris has been a practicing dentist since 2005. In 2012, he received his Master’s of Science in Dentistry and a certificate in Endodontics. He founded East Coast Endodontics shortly after receiving his master’s degree. He also currently holds a part-time position as a Clinical Assistant Professor for the Endodontics department at Virginia Commonwealth University. View his full bio.