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Don't Let Odontophobia Ruin a Healthy Smile

We’ve all heard them before: battle stories about traumatic trips to the dentist. Your best friend in high school who claimed to have a tooth pulled with no Novocain, or your coworker who had to have 12 cavities filled in one day. These kinds of stories are usually told not to incite fear, but to create a little bit of healthy apprehension – and maybe to show a little bravado, too. But often, they do far more than that – they can create or feed into already-existing anxiety or fear about going to the dentist. While a little fear of the dentist is normal, when it gets in the way of your routine exams, it can be a huge problem.

Odontophobia is the fear of receiving dental care or dentistry in general. It’s not unheard of for patients who suffer from odontophobia to avoid going to the dentist altogether, which can be extremely dangerous for overall health.

Luckily, there are many solutions to help patients combat odontophobia once they make that first step through the dental practice door. Here are some ways that Dr. Hill and his team work together to help patients relax and overcome their dental fears!

Let’s Talk

One of the first things we do for patients with dental anxiety is to discuss what is causing that anxiety. Maybe it was you and not your coworker who had to have a lot of cavities filled, and the multiple needles freaked you out. Maybe you had to have a root canal and you still remember the pain like it was yesterday. Whatever the reason, we try to get to the root of the fear and find out why it bothered you and how we can address the problem differently so it doesn’t happen again. Remember, don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed of your dental phobia, but don’t let it keep you away, either – that’s the perfect way to make any small problems you may have get a whole lot bigger.

Keep Calm and Carry On

We do our best to make our patients feel relaxed and at ease when they’re here. That includes discussing fears as we mentioned before, but it also means things like letting the patient watch TV during their procedure, or even using sedation dentistry options like nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas). Better still, we don’t charge for nitrous oxide, because Dr. Hill would rather you be relaxed and comfortable no matter your budget if it means you’ll take care of your teeth!

Time Does NOT Heal All Wounds

It’s easy to cancel your appointment or “forget” to schedule one when you think your oral hygiene might lead to bad news at your dental appointment, but remember: The longer you put off addressing a potential problem, the worse it could get. A small cavity can easily turn into a big cavity or a pulled tooth, and a minor case of gingivitis can turn into full-blown periodontitis, including missing teeth and jaw tissue. Not exactly worth waiting for, is it?

Ready to face your dental fears and take care of your oral health? Take a deep breath and give Dr. Hill’s office a call at (469) 640-9550. We’ve got your back!

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