Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety? Let us help you

We’ve witnessed people of all ages in Oakleigh and across Melbourne experience a fear of visiting the dentist and having a dental examination.

Dental anxiety and dental phobia

What is dental anxiety?

Dental anxiety is the feeling of apprehension, nervousness or fear felt before visiting the dentist. For some, even the thought of visiting the dentist can provoke this fear. Dental anxiety is very common, and most people experience some degree of anxiety when undergoing a new procedure.

What is dental phobia?

Dental phobia is similar to dental anxiety, but much, much stronger. People with dental phobia will usually avoid visiting the dentist at all costs. They can also feel anxiety at the mention of teeth, dentists or oral care (such as toothpaste advertisements). The term ‘phobia’ refers to an “an irrational, severe fear that leads to avoidance of the feared situation”. Many patients, though, may not perceive the fear as irrational.

Types of dental fears

There are actually many different types of dental fears, though many centre on fear of pain, loss of control and negative evaluation. Sometimes specific sights, sounds or smells can trigger fear, (such as the drill, the overhead light, or the smell of the room). Some patients dread the helpless feeling of lying back on the chair, or the invasion of personal space when the dentist examines their teeth.

Causes of dental phobia

In most cases, dental fear can be traced back to a negative or traumatic previous experience with a dentist, in which the patient felt pain, helplessness or humiliation. In some cases, an existing anxiety condition (such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Generalised Anxiety) can result in dental anxiety or phobia.

How can we help you?

The most important thing you can do is to tell our staff if you are feeling uneasy or uncomfortable in any way. Once we understand your history and the specific nature of your fears, we can adjust many aspects of our procedure to make you more comfortable. We are also able to break your treatment down into smaller, more manageable visits if required.

Because Dr Ron is highly qualified in assisting anxious and phobic patients, he understands the gentle and relaxed treatment required during your appointment. We appreciate that each patient is different, so spend time building one-on-one relationships to determine how we can better cater for their needs.

We also place an emphasis on communication, and find that maintaining conversation with the patient throughout the appointment can greatly assist with easing their anxiety and taking their mind off the procedure.

Additionally, our practice has been designed to be a relaxing and stress-free environment, so you’ll find soothing music playing in the background, as well as staff which have a calm and caring demeanour.