Dental Anxiety and Fear

The overwhelming fear of dental appointments can be a common
cause of anxiety.  Many people visualize a drill-wielding man in a
white coat just waiting to cause pain and remove teeth.  The
reality, however, is very different.  The comfort, relaxation and
happiness of the patient are embedded deep at the heart of any
good dental practice.  The staff at the practice will do whatever
they can to reduce anxiety, allay fears and provide painless,
quick treatments.

Recent technological advancements have meant that in many
cases, dentists are able to replace noisy drills with painless laser
beams.  There are also a wide variety of safe anesthetics
available to eliminate pain and reduce anxiety during routine

Here is a list of some of the most common dental fears:

•  Fear of embarrassment about the condition of teeth.
•  Fear of gagging.
•  Fear of injections.
•  Fear of loss of control.
•  Fear of not becoming numb when injected with Novocain.
•  Fear of pain.
•  Fear of the dentist as a person.
•  Fear of the hand piece (or the drill).

How can one overcome dental anxiety?

Dental anxiety and fear can become completely overwhelming.  
It is estimated that as many as 35 million people do not visit the
dental office at all because they are too afraid.  Receiving regular
dental check ups and cleanings is incredibly important. Having
regular routine check ups is the easiest way to maintain excellent
oral hygiene and reduce the need for more complex treatments.

Here are some tips to help reduce dental fear and anxiety:

Talk to the dentist – Though it can be hard to talk about irrational
fears with a stranger, Dr. Wagner can take extra precautions
during visits if fears and anxiety are communicated.

Bring a portable music player – Music acts as a relaxant and also
drowns out any fear-producing noises.  Listening to calming
music throughout the appointment will help to reduce anxiety.

Agree on a signal – Many people are afraid that the dentist will
not know they are in significant pain during the appointment,
and will carry on the procedure regardless.  The best way to
solve this problem is to agree on a “stop” hand signal with the
dentist.  Both parties can easily understand signals like raising
the hand or tapping on the chair.

Spray the throat – Throat sprays (for example, Vicks®
Chloraseptic® Throat Spray) can actually control the gag reflex.  
Two or three sprays will usually keep the reflex under control for
about an hour.

Take a mirror – Not being able to see what is happening can
increase anxiety and make the imagination run wild.  Watching
the procedure can help keep reality at the forefront of the mind.

If you have questions or concerns about how Dr. Wagner can
help you overcome anxiety and fear, please contact us office.
Anxiety and Fear
American Dental Association
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Phone: (918) 622-3915


Address: 9035 East 62nd Street, Tulsa, OK.  74133

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