Conquering Dental Fear

Author: Dan Littman

Visiting your dentist can be a matter of life and death for anyone. The thought of somebody, even though an expert scraping through your teeth with the use of sharp tools, the suctions and other procedures done by your dentist can be very disturbing. The occurrence of dental fear is also called as odontophobia or dentophobia.

According to a New York City dentist, patients experiencing odontophobia or dental phobia have a fight-or-flight reflex upon visiting the dentist. Dr. Louis Siegelman specializes in helping people overcome dental phobias whilst visiting his clinic for certain procedures. Here are some of the cases Dr. Siegelman experiences when patients visits his clinic.

1. Fearing the dental equipment

Sharp objects stuck in your mouth are very scary. The worse part is hearing the machines work in your mouth and you can only assume what your dentists are doing since you aren’t facing any mirror. According to Dr. Siegelman, the best way to conquer that fear is through holding these items first.

2. Threatening-looking dentist

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Dentists can have this demeanor of being ominous or looks threatening. This greatly affects any patient because it seems that they are not welcoming and don’t have a sense of humor. To battle anxious and scared patients, dentists may reduce stress by showing empathy and creating a "happy" place through their sense of humor.

3. Loud noises

There are people sensitive to loud noises. Undergoing a dental procedure involves machines and tools and these can be very disturbing to others. Giving patients noise-cancelling earphones and ear plugs greatly helps through a smooth-sailing dental procedure.

4. Uncomfortable position

It is very disturbing and uncomfortable lying on a dental chair especially for a long time. Dr. Siegelman suggests keeping it into a half-lying position to make patient’s comfortable. Putting extra pillows are helpful to avoid stressing on the bony areas like the hips, shoulders and other parts of the body.

References: Blood monocytes consist of two principal subsets with distinct migratory properties F Geissmann, S Jung, DR Littman Immunity 19 (1), 71-82 2003