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Dental Anxiety and Fear

The overwhelming fear of dental appointments can be a common cause of anxiety.  Many people visualize a drill-wielding man in a white coat just waiting to cause pain and remove teeth.  The reality, however, is

Here is a list of some of the most common dental fears:

  • Fear of embarrassment about the condition of teeth.
  • Fear of gagging.
  • Fear of injections.
  • Fear of loss of control.
  • Fear of not becoming numb when injected with the anesthetic. 
  • Fear of pain.
  • Fear of the dentist as a person.
  • Fear of the hand piece (or the drill).

How can one overcome dental anxiety?

Dental anxiety and fear can become completely overwhelming.  It is estimated that as many as 35 million people do not visit the dental office at all because they are too afraid.  Receiving regular dental check-ups and cleanings is incredibly important.  Having regular routine check-ups is the easiest way to maintain excellent oral hygiene and reduce the need for more complex treatments.

Here are some tips to help reduce dental fear and anxiety:

Talk to us – We can't read minds.  Though it can be hard to talk about irrational fears with a stranger, we can take extra precautions during visits if fears and anxiety are communicated.

Bring a portable music player – Music acts as a relaxant and also drowns out any fear-producing noises.  Listening to calming music throughout the appointment will help to reduce anxiety.

Agree on a signal – Many people are afraid that the dentist will not know they are in significant pain during the appointment and will continue with the procedure regardless.  The best way to solve this problem is to agree on a “stop” hand signal.  Both parties can easily understand signals like raising the hand or tapping on the chair.

Spray the throat – Throat sprays (for example, Vicks® Chloraseptic® Throat Spray) can actually control the gag reflex.  Two or three sprays will usually keep the reflex under control for about an hour.

Take a mirror – Not being able to see what is happening can increase anxiety and make the imagination run wild.  Watching the procedure can help keep reality at the forefront of the mind.

Sedation – If there is no other way to cope, sedation offers an excellent option for many people.  There are several types of sedation, but the general premise behind them is the same: the patient regains their faculties after treatment is complete.

Ask about alternatives – Advances in technology mean that dental microsurgery is now an option. Lasers can be used to prepare teeth for fillings, whiten teeth, and remove staining.  Discuss all the options with us and decide on one that is effective and produces minimal anxiety.

If you have questions or concerns about how we can help you overcome anxiety and fear, please contact our office.

Testimonials.

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Testimonials

I had a crown that was done about four months ago and it started hurting real bad. It felt like I was being hit in the face with a wet sock full of nickels. I yelped Endodontist and saw Dr. Cancellier's great reviews and he was one of the few doctors open at 8am. They were able to see me the same morning I called and he accessed my tooth and set an appointment for the next morning for the root canal. I heard so many horror stories about root canals so I was scared and nervous. Dr. Cancellier explained the whole process and told me not to worry because he would make it as pain free as possible. He wasn't lying. I fell asleep a couple of times during the procedure cause I was so comfortable. He gave me some pain meds for afterwards when the mouth numbing wears off but I didn't need it at all. Painless during and after. It was an awesome experience. If you need a root canal, save yourself some tears and pain and call this guy right now.

M.C.

I went to another dentist and was told I needed a ton of dental work to fix a bad root canal, including an extraction and an implant. Well, I am the biggest chicken when it comes to any dental work, so I thought I needed a 2nd opinion. I was so lucky that a friend’s dentist Dr. Uchizono referred me to Dr. Cancellier. Dr. Cancellier had to do a lot of scary things to my tooth, but he did save it. I went in for 2 procedures. I felt no pain. (Not even the shots, which usually take me over the edge). Dr. C and his staff were so nice and caring. I got a phone call the day and a few days later checking on me. I told them I could not believe that I was ok. I laughed and said the only problem I had was that I needed to go in for a massage after the 1st procedure because I was so tense that my shoulders needed to be worked on. The 2nd procedure went as smoothly as the first one. The only difference was that I did not need a massage, because I knew that I wouldn’t feel any pain. Thank you Dr. C for taking such good care of me and for saving me a ton of money and more, for saving me from experiencing pain.

N.A.

My dentist sent me to Dr. Cancellier for a bad root canal performed by an out of state endodontist. He was very gentle and took a lot of time with me. He noted that I had a significant amount of infection in my sinus and requested that I see an ENT before treating me further.

Later, it was determined I needed another root canal on another tooth which was discovered after I had returned to Dr. Cancellier after nasal surgery because the nerve had died. I was not looking forward to it because of the poor experience I had with a root canal at the other endodontist. The experience I had with Dr. Cancellier couldn't have been different. Both Dr. and staff were gentle and the procedure was done in half the time and with virtually no discomfort. I walked out of his office an extremely happy person.

C.H.

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