A large percentage of adults experience some amount of fear when visiting a dentist. A small percent of people have a strong enough fear to be considered sufferers of a phobia. Those patients experience fear so strongly that they avoid dental visits at all cost, which is very bad for their overall health. Sufferers need to understand their phobia and know there are ways to overcome it the fear


Several terms are used to classify this phobia. It can be known as dental fear, dental anxiety, dentist phobia, odontophobia, or dentophobia. An intense fear of visiting the dentist for even the simplest dental care. Patients who experience dental fear do so because of prior traumatic experiences at the dentist.

These experiences can include complications from a procedure or painful procedures If an individual received oral care from a dentist that was rough, uncaring, or treats you without empathy, the experience could result in increased fear. Bad experiences aren’t the only ways in which a dental fear could arise. One way in which someone could obtain a fear of the dentist is through hearing about someone else’s bad traumatic experience.


Treatment for dental fear can range from behavioral techniques to medications. Some dentists help patients to overcome the fear through gentle dentistry and explaining the procedures in a calming way to reduce a fear of the unknown. Positive reinforcement is another technique that may be used to overcome dental fear. Praising and supporting the patient after a successful appointment can build confidence and help diminish the fear. Relaxation methods can be used to reduce fear. Deep breathing, muscle relaxation, and positive imagery can help patients relax while in the care of a dentist.

Medications –

The use of certain medication can vary from mild sedatives to general anesthesia. Dentists often use laughing gas to help calm a nervous patient. Some times dentist can prescribe anxiety medication such as Valium or Xanax prior to a procedure. Through the use of these methods, a patient is able to receive dental care regardless of the fear. It also allows for the patient to be fully responsive, alert, and able to speak with the dentist.Doing the proper research into finding a dentist that you are comfortable with will help greatly reduce anxiety. If the patient feels a sense of trust with the chosen dentist they will find it easier receive regular dental visits. Patient’s can request a dental consultation prior to having work done. Stress-balls are great, they can be squeezed in times of heightened fear or anxiety. Having a support system also helps reduce fear, and bringing a trusted friend or family member to the appointment is another helpful way to reduce dental fear.

At Michels & Gauquie Cosmetic and Family Dentistry we take pride in our attention to patients that experience dental fear. We can assist you in making your dental experience as peaceful and relaxing as possible. You may visit our office located at 2330 Hemby Lane in  Greenville, NC  Contact us at 252-752-1600. Please contact our office to discuss the best ways for us to assist you and your personal needs.