1S443 Summit Ave, Ste 307 | Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181 (630) 620-8300 dr.noto@gallerydentalofoakbrook.com

Dentophobia (commonly called ‘fear of the dentist’) can make it much more difficult to get oral health care. Luckily, our team of qualified dental professionals is here to help you conquer your fears so that you can get the care and smile you deserve.

Dr. Peter L. Noto and his team have years of experience helping patients get safe, effective, and gentle dental care. If fear of the dentist is keeping you from seeking preventive or restorative treatments, then contact the team at Gallery Dental of Oakbrook. Just send us a message here or call our dental office in Oakbrook Terrace, IL, at (630) 620-8300 to see how we can make your oral care more comfortable.  

Not ready to schedule an appointment just yet? No problem. In this post, we give you three ways that you can conquer dentophobia to get health-saving dental treatments.

Find Coping Mechanisms that Work for You

Fear of the dentist can feel all-consuming when an upcoming dental visit looms on the horizon. Subsequently, it’s best for patients to identify positive coping mechanisms that can help them overcome their negative emotions surrounding dental work.

Here are some tried-and-true coping mechanisms that we recommend:

  • Communicating your emotions to your dental team as you experience them
  • Breathing exercises (e.g. breathing in for five counts and releasing for five counts)
  • Meditation (try guided meditation apps on your mobile device, like Headspace or Breethe)
  • Guided imagery (also called ‘visualization’ or ‘finding one’s happy place’)
  • Conscious muscle relaxation (i.e. focusing on relaxing specific muscle groups, one at a time)

Distract Yourself 

Your favorite songs, podcasts, TV shows, and movies can be a welcome distraction during dental work. At Gallery Dental of Oakbrook, we offer numerous ways for you to distract yourself during treatments. However, there are some things that you can do to further distract yourself, such as:

  • Wearing noise-canceling earbuds or headphones to drown out sounds
  • Playing with sensory toys (like fidget spinners or bubble pops) to occupy fidgety hands
  • Placing diluted essential oils (like lavender oil mixed with a carrier oil) under the nose to promote calm and relaxation 

Explore Anxiety-reducing Medications

For patients with extreme dentophobia, anxiety-reducing medications may be the best way to combat fear of the dentist. Our team can work closely with patients’ primary care physicians to find medications that work best for them. 

Alternatively, patients can explore other nerve-soothing medications designed to help patients during single office visits, such as:

  • Nitrous oxide: Also called laughing gas, nitrous oxide has been a dental analgesic (painkiller) and anxiolytic (anxiety reducer) for over 150 years. Its calming effects help patients relax while also inhibiting pain receptors. 
  • Oral conscious sedation: Some oral medications can sedate patients without ever putting them to sleep, such as triazolam, diazepam, zaleplon, and lorazepam. These drugs are a safer alternative to general anesthesia. 
  • General anesthesia: Typically reserved for complicated or lengthy dental procedures, general anesthesia puts patients in a blissful sleep during their appointments. Patients under general anesthesia require a chaperone to drive them home following their procedures.

Ask Us How We Can Help You Fight Dentophobia

Don’t let dentophobia keep you from getting the dental care you need. Ask the team at Gallery Dental of Oakbrook how we can help you relax during treatments. Patients can book appointments or gather more information by calling our Oakbrook, IL, dental office at (630) 620-8300 or by sending us a message here.