For some, a trip to your dentist or endodontist is a routine that doesn’t cause anxiety. But for many people with some degree of dental phobia — technically called dentophobia or odontophobia — it’s the worst experience in the world.
For endodontists, since we specialize in root canals, we see dental phobia on a daily basis. Our staff is highly trained in explaining every aspect of your procedure BEFORE it’s conducted, we keep TVs in every exam room that follow you as your procedure is done, headphones to listen to music and cancel out noise, and we are transparent about what is happening – keeping you calm and relaxed. We’ve even had people fall asleep during our root canals!
People with dental phobias have a reflex to feel a fight-or-flight response when they visit the dentist. Phobias can be a result of a multitude of things, including having a previous traumatic experience at the dentist (maybe a previous anesthetization wasn’t done properly), feeling extreme discomfort while having a dental procedure done (maybe the person has trouble breathing while having work done), and having an accident where maybe a person needed stitches in or near the mouth, imprinting that scary moment in memory.
Some people don’t visit the dentist for years because they are so afraid of coming in. For some people, this just reinforces their negative view of the dentist – because they hadn’t been in for their regular checkups, their teeth are in bad shape, just making the dental work they have to have done more extensive.
Dental Phobia: 7 Common Fears & How To Conquer Them
Here are some common things that people are afraid of during a dental visit, and what you and the dentist can do to help soothe those fears: