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Strategies for Overcoming Dental Anxiety and Phobia

For some people, even the thought of visiting the dentist can trigger feelings of fear, panic, and anxiety. If left unaddressed, dental anxiety has the potential to develop into a full-blown phobia that prevents individuals from getting the dental care they need. However, it’s possible to overcome dental anxiety and phobias by utilizing proven strategies.

Here at Discovery Dental, we understand how powerful dental fears can be, which is why we take a gentle, compassionate approach to help patients find relief. Our team is specially trained in relaxation techniques, desensitization methods, and cognitive behavioral therapy to help anxious patients through treatment comfortably. Read on to learn some of the key strategies we employ.

Local Anesthesia
For procedures involving drilling or shots, we offer different forms of local anesthesia to help take the fear out of treatment. Options include topical gels that numb the area, computer-controlled anesthetic delivery for minimal sensation, and oral anti-anxiety medications. Talk to us about which solution may give you the most calming control over your situation.

Slow Desensitization
Our staff is skilled in behavior-shaping techniques that gradually expose patients to feared stimuli in a relaxed manner. This may involve listening to dental sounds through headphones or visualization practices at home. Over time, paired with deep breathing exercises, it can help anxious minds see instruments and offices are not truly threatening.

Distraction Techniques
We provide stress-reducing amenities like movie streaming, virtual reality headsets, and calming music/aromatherapy during visits. Guided imagery and focused distraction take the mind away from worries by transporting patients to peaceful mental vacation spots. Neuromuscular massage of hands and face also releases built-up tension.

Post-Appointment Processing
Aftercare, our therapists help patients process their experience by reflecting on coping mechanisms used and new information learned from their success. Homework like gratitude journaling about unaffected everyday activities reinforces reduced perceptions of fear over time through continued exposure.

Group Support
For those with clinical phobias, we facilitate small group exposure therapy sessions where patients learn from each other and support one another’s incremental steps together with our guidance. Comradery and understanding within the safe space have shown marked improvement in problematic fears.

We want every patient to feel at ease when visiting our practice. If you’ve been avoiding checkups due to anxiety, don’t wait any longer to get help. Simply scheduling an initial consultation with our dedicated staff can often provide immense relief. Together, we’ll design a customized strategy for your needs. You no longer need to let fear determine your oral health and well-being.

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