The more powerful an individual is, either physically or professionally, the more uncomfortable they are going to the dentist if they have had a prior bad experience. A physically strong athlete, or successful executive might have become used to exerting a certain level of control over their environment. These people have the most difficulty giving up control and therefore experience the most fear of dentistry. This information on dental fear and dentist phobia caused by helplessness was created in our Dental Anxiety Dental Fear office.
One way we help fearful patients cope with their dental work is by giving them control. We give them control over what we do, when we do it, how we do it, how much it will cost, what it will look like and how it will function. Our patients acquire a great deal of understanding about the their total dental care and become comfortable with the process.
We also give our patients control over the potential of pain both during and after any procedures. If a patient feels any pain during a procedure we stop treatment until all pain sensation is gone. We frequently use nitrous oxide (laughing) gas during procedures to both alleviate pain and reduce anxiety. We also prescribe Valium for apprehensive new patients during their initial series of visits if necessary. This is typically all that is necessary to get most phobic dental patients beyond their fear.
We also offer patients intravenous conscious sedation for those patients who really need to minimize their awareness during dental procedures. This can be accomplished by one of our oral surgeons for more minor procedures, including tooth extractions. There is also an MD-anesthesiologist available for those patients who want to have major procedures performed over many hours.
A lot of our phobic dental patients do really overcome their fears!
–Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman, Director