Odontophobia, or the fear of dentists, is common in adults. Millions of Americans suffer from some form of odontophobia. While few people look forward to visiting the dentist, those who suffer from the worst anxiety would rather suffer extreme pain than go in for a visit, even if that meant taking the pain away. The fear of the dentist can have many causes, but the most common catalysts are a traumatic experience as a child, fear of loud noises, fear of pain, and the feeling of lacking control when in the dentist’s chair.
If you are one of the many who avoid the dentist out of anxiety, or if you’ve found dental visits a distressing experience until now, we can help. Pittsburgh periodontist Dr. Silberg and his staff are trained to help even the most anxious patient overcome their fear. Read on to learn a few of the things that we can do to help accommodate your particular needs.
We try to explain everything that will happen before it does to help patients feel comfortable with their procedures. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, as knowledge truly is power. If you know what to expect, you will be less afraid of it.
Establishing a Safeword
When you first sit in the chair, we will establish a signal or a word that means “Stop.” Common signals include raising a hand, tapping the chair repeatedly, or making a certain sound–things you can do even when you can’t speak. That way, you have control over your dental visit.
Allowing Comforting Objects or People
We encourage our patients to bring something or someone that will help them remain calm during their visit. Many patients bring a friend or relative, especially to their first visit to help them until they are more comfortable with Dr. Silberg.
A similar strategy to the previous one, this idea relies on being too busy to focus on the dental procedure. You can distract yourself by listening to music, watching a movie, or doing something else to keep yourself busy. Find something to do that will keep your mind occupied so that you don’t succumb to your anxiety. As much as possible, we’ll accommodate your need for a distraction.
Dental care can be frightening, but it will improve your life and your health. If you have any questions or concerns about your dental phobia, please contact us!