878 Walnut St San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Tips For Overcoming Dental Phobia

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If you find yourself feeling fearful before your trip to the dentist, know that you’re not alone. Dental phobia is common in many patients, especially before a big procedure. It can range anywhere from jitters the night before an appointment, to full-on avoidance of the dentist despite painful conditions. Dental phobia can be dangerous for folks who fall on the latter side of the scale, especially if they’re in need of an emergency dentist. Here at SLO Smiles, our mission is to prove that there is a difference between dental work and dental care. Our San Luis Obispo dentists want all of our patients to feel at ease the moment they walk through our doors, and that is why today we are breaking down the signs of dental phobia, and well as providing you with ways to overcome it.

Signs of Dental Phobia

Some of the most common signs and indicators of dental fear, according to WebMd are:

  • Difficulty sleeping the night before a dental exam
  • Extreme nervousness that escalates the morning of an exam to time in the waiting room
  • Crying or feeling physically ill at the thought of visiting the dentist
  • Avoiding emergency dentists and routine dental care altogether
Causes of Dental Phobia

Dental anxiety is most commonly caused by a traumatic experience from a painful procedure, or even a negative interaction with a dentist. Some people fear medical care altogether due to past experiences, or because of a negative portrayal in the media. Underlying roots of dental anxiety can stem from a fear of pain and injections, as well as sedation. Some patients simply fear the helplessness associated with going to the dentist, with the sharp tools and whirring machines. Many folks just feel embarrassed about the condition of their teeth, and their lack of past care.

Overcoming Dental Phobia

The first step to overcoming your dental phobia is to identify the root cause of your fear. Is it from a past experience? Or is it the loss of personal space that startles you? Once you know exactly what you are afraid of, it is easier to work towards a solution. Take your time when committing to a dentist to make sure you have the right fit. If your physician is not receptive to your fears, know that there is someone out there that will make you feel more comfortable. If your anxiety stems from a loss of control, try taking a buddy or family member with you to your next procedure. It is always more comfortable to have someone that you trust by your side to help soothe your stress. Another important resource your dentists can (and should) provide for you is a perception of pain. After explaining your fears to your physician, they can detail every step of the procedure, and give you a warning before any striking sensations. Knowing exactly what to expect each step of the procedure can provide you with major emotional relief.

Furthermore, folks with severe phobias have the option for medication. All doctors can offer nitrous to patients to help relax before a procedure, and some can even provide higher levels of support. Our very own Dr. Main is licensed to provide Oral Conscious Sedation to help the most fearful of patients get past any initial fears. Over time, our patients who have used this level of support don’t need it as they become more and more comfortable with our team.

Know that here at SLO Smiles, we specialize in patient care and comfort. From our laid back office space to our warm and welcoming staff, easing any and all of your dental fears is our top priority. We want all of our patients to feel safe in our space and to be able to rely on us as their emergency dentist when problems arise. When you walk through the doors of our San Luis Obispo office, you can expect personalized attention from experienced experts and an informative treatment plan tailored to you. We are listeners, not lecturers, and we support all of our patients on their path to whole body health. Interested in our services? Reach out to one of our friendly technicians today.

Office Hours
  • Monday7:00am - 7:00pm
  • Tuesday7:00am - 7:00pm
  • Wednesday7:00am - 7:00pm
  • Thursday7:00am - 5:30pm
  • Friday7:00am - 2:00pm
  • Saturday8:00am - 12:00pm
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New patients are always welcome at SLO Smiles. Evening and weekend appointments are available to make your busy life easier. Our friendly San Luis Obispo dental team looks forward to meeting you!