Last time I discussed the prevalence of dental phobia and reassured you that if you have dental anxiety you are not alone. I pointed out that avoiding the dentist just leads to greater problems and more anxiety. So what is a more productive way to deal with your fear of the dentist?

1. Don’t wait till it hurts. Deal with the problem before you have acute pain. You need to take it slow and when you have severe pain, that’s not possible.

2. Find a dental office that understands your situation. It takes a lot of courage to pick up the phone and call a dentist so don’t give up at this point just because the first person you called was impatient with you.

3. Schedule a get acquainted visit. Many offices will do this free of charge. Find out if there is a non-clinical area to talk with the dentist and the staff to see if it is a good fit.

4. Make sure that the doctor offers different kinds of sedation. Oregon requires an additional endorsement on the dental license specific to the type of sedation offered.

5. Discuss your fears with the dentist and staff and work out a plan to get back into optimum dental health at a rate you are comfortable with.

Dentistry is different than it was 10 years ago. And you will be surprised at how well you can overcome your fear by taking it slowly before you have pain and using modern methods of sedation.

Yours for excellent dental health,
Dr. S