What Is Dentophobia And How To Overcome It

BY Dr. McDowell  |  August 26th, 2021
Dr. McDowell
Dr. McDowell has always been focused on using the latest technology to improve the patient experience. From radiation-free imaging to laser dentistry, he has always been ahead of the curve and is dedicated to improving the practice of dentistry one ..

Dentophobia is the fear of the dentist. But does that really include all of what it is?

A lot of people are afraid of the dentist. It’s a common fear, and it causes a lot of problems when it comes to an individual’s oral health. So how do you know if you have dentophobia and how do you overcome it if you do?

Let’s learn more about dentophobia and how we all can feel a little bit more comfortable during our next dental appointment.

What Is Dentophobia?

Dentophobia or dental phobia is quite literally, a fear of the dentist. But, it can also include a fear of dental treatments, dental offices, dental procedures, and all other things relating to dental work.

The word Dentophobia itself can be broken down into “denta” and “phobia”. “Denta” meaning dentist or any oral healthcare provider and “phobia” meaning fear. You might think of it as dentist phobia or dental phobia. Either way, it’s a distinct fear of dentistry.

People of all ages struggle with dental fear. When we’re younger, it’s just a terrible gut feeling, but as we get older, it starts to become dental anxiety. Without our parents dragging us to the dentist that dental anxiety or dentophobia begins to keep us from going to the dentist’s office.

What Are We Afraid Of?

If you’re like most people out there, you totally understand dental fear and dental anxiety. But what exactly is it that we’re afraid of? Is it a fear of needles or a dreaded dental procedure? Most likely, you’re not afraid of the people behind the masks because if you met them in the parking lot at Walmart, you probably wouldn’t think twice.

The first step to overcoming dentophobia is to identify what it is that you’re afraid of and why. After you’ve identified what part of the dentist you’re afraid of, you’ll be able to work through it before you get to the waiting room.

Overcoming Dental Fear

Like any fear, overcoming dental fear can take a little time. As a dental office, we get it. We understand having a little anxiety about coming in to see us and how dental treatment can, at times, be scary.

In our experience, we find our anxious patients are worried about a specific treatment they might need. But what is also common is that patients don’t fear the actual procedure itself, but the uncertainty that lies with discovering there could be some unresolved dental problems in need of attention.

At the end of the day, the best way to handle this type of situation is to talk with your dentist and dental hygienist about your fear. While there could be many factors adding to dental phobia, it is best to remember that the worst thing you can do is avoid seeing your dentist. A great deal of work in dentistry is in preventative treatment so you can avoid the more intensive (and more intimidating) treatments. Sometimes when you catch an issue early, your dentist can prescribe special tooth past to promote remineralization which can resolve plenty of small cavities!

Bottom line, avoiding the dentist is not a good plan as it could lead to potential dental problems worsening and requiring the procedure you were trying to avoid in the first place.

After identifying what part of going to the dentist gives you anxiety, it’s important to implement anxiety management tips. One of the best ways to manage your fear is to express your anxiety to your dentist: we’re here to make you comfortable! We understand that dentophobia impacts many people and we always want to make your experience better.

female dentist talking to female patient

Some other techniques include scheduling an appointment at a non-stressful time, such as a Saturday morning, and bringing music along to listen to throughout your appointment!

The good news is, the latest advancements in the dental industry have introduced laser procedures which are an effective and painless alternative to other procedures. Our patients’ fear of the dentist is just one reason why we started using laser dentistry techniques throughout our practice. These techniques allow us to perform operations without the use of Novocain or other drugs while still delivering a pain-free experience!

Laser Dentistry

Laser dentistry is the newest innovation within an industry that’s over 100 years old. While most people won’t think twice about the procedures that take place at the dentist, those who struggle with anxiety over their visits won’t be able to stop thinking about it.

Laser dentistry doesn’t use any needles and most often won’t use any drills or other traditional dentist tools. You won’t have to be afraid to go to the dentist any longer; the dentist doesn’t have to be scary. Laser dentistry might be what you need to conquer your fear of the dentist.

Laser Dentistry for Adults

For adults, the thought of changing something like their dental care might produce more anxiety than if they were to just stick with what they’ve already been using for years. But, for those who genuinely want a pain-free dental experience, then we would highly encourage them to try laser dentistry and to explore the reasons why it’s better than traditional dentistry.

If you’re still on the fence and not sure about laser dentistry, then here are some reasons you should choose laser dentistry:

These are just a few of the many reasons why laser dentistry is safer and better for your teeth.

Laser Dentistry for Kids

Laser dentistry is also an excellent option for kids and can be very effective in helping them battle their fear of the dentist. Think back to when you were a child and had to go to the dentist, one of the worst parts was the sounds and smells of tools that were used to clean your teeth and perform operations.

The anxiety you felt as a child doesn’t have to also be experienced by your children. Consider laser dentistry for your kids as a solution to their fear of the dentist.

girl smiling after overcoming dentophobia by going to her dentist

Laser Dentistry Procedures

Cavity removal, root canals, and other often painful procedures can be performed through laser dentistry as seamlessly as your standard cleaning. Not only is laser dentistry faster than traditional dental operations, but it’s also much more effective. You might be wondering how effective it actually is and why we consider it better.

The light given off by the lasers promotes blood clotting where needed and actually helps to generate tissue growth. That means your mouth will heal more quickly than it would have otherwise. If you’re considering any big operations, you might consider how effective laser dentistry has been in performing them. Due to the fact that laser treatment options are not available at every dental practice, we would encourage you to find one that offers this new form of treatment as it is an effective and painless alternative.

Next Steps

We hope this has helped resolve any anxiety you might have about going to the dentist. But if you have any extreme fear or physical symptoms surrounding your dental visits, it might be time to contact a mental health professional to help resolve your fears.

Wayzata Dental would love to be a part of your family’s dental health journey. You can visit our website to learn more about the laser dentistry techniques we use or to book an appointment.

We can’t wait to hear from you! If you’ve enjoyed reading this blog post, be sure to check out some of the others we have on our website.

Dr. McDowell
Dr. McDowell has always been focused on using the latest technology to improve the patient experience. From radiation-free imaging to laser dentistry, he has always been ahead of the curve and is dedicated to improving the practice of dentistry one ..