I Have Dental Phobia: Can You Help?

Jan 16, 2024
misc image
Are you struggling with dental phobia and looking for a compassionate, understanding solution? Discover the practical strategies that can help you overcome your fear of the dentist.

Does the mere thought of going to the dentist make you break out in beads of sweat? So much so that you'd skip out on your dental appointments. You might have a dental phobia.

For people with dental phobia, a visit to the dentist is a severe source of anxiety. The dread could be because of traumatic dental experiences in the past, a fear of pain or injections, or being embarrassed about the state of your oral health.

At OneSource Dental of South Tampa in Tampa, Nancy Horton, DMD, has over 29 years of experience helping people with dental anxiety. She specializes in helping you uncover the root cause of your fear and finding the best way to help you overcome it. 

In this article, she sheds more light on what people living with dental phobia experience and helps you see why routine dental visits don’t need to trigger your anxiety.

What do people fear most about the dentist?

People with dentophobia may experience a range of specific fears. A common one is fear of dental pain, which may stem from negative past dental experiences and can worsen when you anticipate pain. 

It's not uncommon for people to have a fear of dental instruments. The sight or sound of drills, needles, or other dental tools can sometimes trigger anxiety symptoms.

If you have little or no knowledge of the dental procedure you’re about to have, it can cause you to become distressed, typically due to anticipating the discomfort or being apprehensive about the procedure’s outcome.

Dental phobia often causes people to avoid dental appointments, which can, in turn, result in poor oral health. However, being embarrassed about your poor oral can also make you feel anxious about visiting the dentist, creating a vicious cycle. 

What are the causes of dental phobia?

Dental phobia is a highly person condition; as such, different factors can trigger its onset in people. 

Previous traumatic dental experiences

If you’ve had a negative experience, it can leave a lasting impact, causing you to develop a deep-seated fear of such an incident re-occurring.

Negative media portrayals

Media portrayals that make the dentist seem scary don’t help. Hearing horror stories in your favorite movies or shows can subconsciously create and reinforce a fear of the dentist. 

Personal trauma or abuse

Experiencing abuse, especially if it involves your mouth or face, may cause you to develop dental anxiety. 

Sensory sensitivities

If you’re uncomfortable with the unique sounds, smells, and sensations dental procedures are known for, this could cause you to develop a dental phobia.

In addition, if you have an existing anxiety condition such as generalized anxiety disorder, you may find going to the dentist particularly challenging.

How we help ease your dental anxiety 

Dr. Horton uses various techniques to help you manage dental anxiety. Firstly, she uses sedation methods like nitrous oxide or oral sedation to help relax you during a procedure.

Simple relaxation techniques like deep breathing and calming exercises are also a great way to ease your nerves. If you just need to be distracted while she works on you, we have several entertainment options, like watching a fun video to take your mind off the procedure. 

Creating a safe space

At OneSource Dental of South Tampa, we've spent several years creating a clinical space where you feel safe and welcome. We use calming colors, soothing music, and a warm and friendly reception to ease your anxiety from the moment you enter the door.

If you’re struggling with dental phobia, you need a dentist who prioritizes clear and compassionate communication like Dr. Horton. She takes the time to understand the details of your anxiety and thoroughly discusses treatment options with you in detail. 

Feel free to ask as many questions as you need to ease your fears, and she'll answer each of them clearly and patiently. When there's open communication, dental procedures feel manageable, giving you a sense of control.

Facing your dental phobia head-on is courageous and necessary for your oral health and well-being. Overcome your dental anxiety today by calling 813-879-9299 or scheduling an appointment online.