3 Pieces of Advice from Dr. Carol Ford

Cosmetic_Dentist It may seem hard to believe if you do visit the dentist regularly, but five to eight percent of adult Americans are so afraid of going to a general or cosmetic dentist that they would rather suffer the pain of tooth decay, gum disease or even a dental infection than be treated. Another 20 percent of Americans are afraid enough of dental visits that they will go only when absolutely necessary.

According to Phoenix cosmetic dentist Dr. Carol Ford, it’s important – and simple – to work with a dentist to conquer your dental anxiety. Here are her top tips for overcoming your fears.

3 Ways to Deal with Dental Anxiety

  1. Talk to your dentist about your fears.

“The only way to resolve your anxiety is to face it head on,” says Dr. Ford. “If you discuss your fears with your dentist, he or she can partner with you to minimize its impact on your dental experience.”

If you are clear about what you fear the most, your dentist can customize the best approach for you. Also, just the act of talking with your dentist can build trust between the two of you, which will reduce anxiety.

  1. Explore your options for reducing your anxiety level.

You may want to practice breathing or relaxation exercises, bring your own music to listen to during your treatment, or talk to your dentist about other calming/distracting features (such as televisions) in their treatment rooms. Some dentists offer sedation dentistry to assist their anxious patients.

“Most stress-reduction techniques help our patients feel in control of their treatment experience, and that greatly reduces feelings of anxiety for most people,” Dr. Ford says.

  1. Conquer your anxiety in baby steps.

You don’t have to go from zero visits per year to a root canal … Visiting the dentist regularly for less invasive maintenance appointments can reduce the likelihood you’ll have to face major restorative treatments or oral surgery later.

Dr. Ford says, “Each contact you have with your dentist will reduce the fear of the unknown, which can drive many dental phobias.”

Finally, Dr. Ford emphasizes that there is no shame in admitting you have dental anxiety.

“It can be terrifying to think about confronting a long-term fear,” she says. “But your oral and general health is at stake. There are many cosmetic dentists who want to partner with you in conquering your phobia.”




  1. John Carston says

    I’m not a big fan of visiting the dentist due to anxiety but I’m sure this advice will help. I like the advice you gave for looking at ways to reduce anxiety like relaxation exercises and music. I usually don’t have much of a problem visiting the dentist unless it’s before a major cosmetic or dental procedure, but I’m sure this will be helpful.

  2. Cindy Tesler says

    I agree that it’s a good idea to talk to your dentist about your fears. You also said that it’s good to explore your options, such as your breathing and relaxation exercises. I think it’s a good idea to choose a cosmetic dentist that is close to your work since you’re there every day.

  3. John Mahoney says

    I agree that when it comes to taking care of your mouth you need to make sure you schedule regular visits with your doctor. I can see how this can help not only prevent any problems but also be able to notice them early on and be able to treat them correctly. It is important to remember that choosing someone who has the tools and experience to help you be more confident with your smile can make all the difference.

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