Treating Patients with Dental Phobia – fear of the dentist

January 14, 2010 2:00 pm Published by

I have learned a few techniques which help perform dentistry on fearful patients.


Dr. Dorfman taught us how important it is to get a good rapport with the patient, in reducing the anxiety of the patient. I have learned that when the patient trusts the dentist, he will be more relaxed and will be less fearful. The doctor starts the conversation after knowing their background and work place, and talks to them informally to ease them.  He becomes friends with the patient and gains their confidence before starting the dental treatment.


I have seen the doctor devote most of his time listening to concerns and exploring patient interests.  Discussing the patient’s concerns early on and demonstrating real interest in their life and how their situation might impact treatment, would dramatically affect the dentist-patient relationship.


Competent yet caring professional is best for the fearful patient. I have seen Dr. Dorfman communicate concern verbally and non-verbally.  I have seen him approach every patient in the center, getting treated with a hygienist or a specialist, to reassure about their comfort.  Expressing caring through humor can be useful in lifting patients’ spirits and providing distraction


Dr. Dorfman believes that the patient’s fear can be reduced by giving them control over the dental environment and by reducing or eliminating pain both during and after dental procedures.  He taught us that 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.  At the Center for Special Dentistry, the doctor gives them control over what he does, when he does it, how he does it, what it will look like and how it will function.


S.S., New York University College of Dentistry


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This post was written by Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman