I'm Afraid of the Dentist: Can You Help?

I'm Afraid of the Dentist: Can You Help?

You know you need to make regular trips to the dentist to avoid tooth problems and keep your mouth healthy. But the idea of sitting in the dentist’s chair makes you anxious, and maybe even terrified. 

If this describes you, you may have a condition called dentophobia, or dental anxiety. This common fear of the dentist affects millions of Americans, from young children to nearly a third of all dental students. 

At the private practice of Robert F. Wilcox, DMD, in Butte, Montana, we’re committed to providing the best dental care possible. We don’t want your fear of the dentist to prevent you from getting the oral care you need. 

Dr. Wilcox offers several options to ease your anxiety and keep you comfortable, whether you need a routine cleaning or a complex procedure. Keep reading to learn how we can help you work through your fear of seeing the dentist. 

A closer look at why you’re afraid of the dentist

If you’re afraid of the dentist, you’re one of about 40 million Americans who have dental anxiety. While people develop dental anxiety for many reasons, fear of pain is the top reason cited. Other causes of dental anxiety or fear include:

Some people are so anxious or afraid of the dentist that even the thought of going for a visit can trigger a panic attack. Unfortunately, this can mean putting off dental visits, which might cause more tooth problems and more dental work.    

How we help with dental anxiety

We do everything we can to keep you comfortable and anxiety-free during your visit. We offer a variety of solutions to address your fears, from distractions to oral sedation. 

If you’re afraid of the dentist or feel anxious about your visit, one of the best things you can do is tell us about it. Dr. Wilcox can customize your treatments, breaking up more complex work into several appointments, if possible. 

He may also stop to give you breaks or tell you how you can let him know if your fear is starting to take over. Or he may recommend using your phone to listen to music or your favorite podcast to help keep you distracted during your visit.   

You may also find it helpful to practice relaxation techniques, like deep breathing or meditation, before and during your treatment. And, of course, Dr. Wilcox is always happy for you to bring a supportive friend or family member with you for moral support. 

Oral sedation for dental anxiety

Depending on the work you need and your level of dental anxiety, Dr. Wilcox may recommend oral sedation to help you stay relaxed and at ease during your visit. Oral sedation involves the use of medication to alleviate the symptoms of dental fears. 

Based on your history, your anxiety and fear levels, the types of procedure you need, and your tolerance to pain, Dr. Wilcox creates a personalized oral sedation plan that may include:

Don’t let fear of the dentist stop you from getting the care you need. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone with Dr. Wilcox to get started today.

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