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 appointments.

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
Creating Beautiful Smiles
American Dental Association
Questions - Comments - Suggestions

Should you have questions about any aspect of dental disease or treatment,
or have a specific problem or treatment need, contact us at:

Phone: (918) 622-3915


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

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© Copyright 2009, Scott W. Wagner, DDS, PC.  All Rights Reserved.
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