Dental phobia

Welcome to issue Twenty one of YOUR DENTAL CARE News.

In our twentieth issue we discussed about Dental trauma…. If you missed this issue please check it out.

In this issue we will discuss Dental phobias.

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Fear of the dentist.

There are many people in our community who for one reason or another have a dental phobia. However most do find themselves dreading the dental visit even though they may not be a dental phobic.

The feeling of vulnerability and discomfort whilst lying in a dental chair is natural. The head is the most protected part of our body. It houses the brain, eyes and  we draw breath for life from the head. Most people would involuntarily flinch away at anything coming close to their field of vision. We often feel threatened when our private space is invaded.

Dentistry involves working close to the most vulnerable part of the body. Feeling loss of control is made worse when lying on your back.  Also the increased activity around the field of vision will make anyone nervous.

As dentist we understand this only too well. Don’t forget we also experience the same feelings when we are the patient! But this feeling of vulnerability can be overcome by trusting your dental professional. The dental visit will be less intimidating if you have a good rapport with the dentist and staff.

What can I do to overcome my fear when at the dentist?

Concentrating on slow, deep breathing in your abdomen with your diaphragm instead of using your chest muscles will ease your mind of your dental anxiety. Listening to your favorite tunes with headphones can also distract you to a better mental space.

Individuals who have had extremely bad dental experiences in the past fall into the dental phobia category. Dental phobia surpasses the fleeting feeling of discomfort or vulnerability. A specialist medical practitioner should be consulted if your dental phobia affect your normal daily routine prior to a dental visit.

What is an alternative to a general anaesthetic for dental treatment? 

Sedation dentistry with a specialist ( in a familiar dental setting is the best form of management for dental phobia.

The sedation process involves administration of drugs via a cannula inserted in the hand. The drugs used in sleep dentistry puts the patient into a deep sleep.  You will not remember what was done during the dental procedure. This is of tremendous benefit for the fearful person.

Having the sedation process in a familiar environment outside of a hospital is the best part of sleep dentistry. Also the quick recovery process after the procedure does not leave you feeling nauseous or drowsy. Driving is not recommended but most patients report feeling very refreshed after the sedation.

Sleep dentistry helps people with dental phobias receive much needed treatment. In most cases, patients cope better with subsequent dental visits because the fear cycle is broken. When a history of bad experience is re-enacted with a similar procedure, the phobia is reinforced. Being in deep sleep and not remembering the dental treatment helps with overcoming the phobia.

All our fears start in the mind through thoughts based on experiences. Dental phobias are not a figment of imagination but are very real fears for some. In order to overcome such debilitating fear we must face it. Sleep dentistry is a gentle and safe method of sedation for those with dental phobias to receive dental treatment. And a good start to recovery from dental phobia.

Till next time keep smiling!

Dr Roland Chong


Roland Chong

Roland has over 20 years experience as a general dentist. Roland does all aspects of general dentistry with a special interest in prosthodontics (crown and bridge work) and cosmetic dentistry. A member of the International Team of Implantology, Roland is constantly developing his skills by collaborating with international experts.