Overcoming Your Fear of the Dentist

Does a looming dental appointment fill you with dread? Would you rather wait in line at the DMV than attend a dental visit? Dr. David Eshom sees his fair share of patients who would rather be anywhere else than in his office, due to a very real fear of dentists. Whether this fear comes from a bad past experience or not responding to pain medications, Dr. Eshom wants to help patients overcome their anxiety and have a relaxing visit. The doctor will work diligently to help you feel calm during your visit, whether that entails the use of sedation dentistry, or just taking the time to walk you through every step of your procedure.

scared of dental visits

What Causes Dental Fear?

Patients give many reasons for their fear of going to the dentist. A few of the most popular include:

  • Pain – The most common reason for fear of the dentist, the potential for experiencing pain can keep people from visiting the dentist for years. The fear may stem from how the media portrays dentists, bad past experiences with dental treatments, or an inability to numb with traditional dental anesthesia. Dr. Eshom has a gentle touch, and works very hard to make his procedures as minimally invasive and pain-free as possible. He offers various types of sedation, so he has an option that works for everyone.
  • Past Experience – Many patients have had terrible experiences with dentists in the past. Maybe a doctor performed work on a tooth that did not numb correctly. A patient may have had painful procedures pthat were unnecessary. These patients feel terrified that the same thing will happen to them again. We will include you in treatment planning, talking you through each step in the procedure, and explaining why we need to perform it. Dr. Eshom and our staff encourage you to ask questions, and we will never administer treatment without your consent.
  • Loss of Control – Some people feel that once they sit in the dental chair, they have no control over what will happen next. When you visit our office, you are the “boss” and have the final say on all procedures.
  • Embarrassment – Patients who have avoided the dentist for a long period of time worry that when they finally make an appointment, they will be lectured or treated badly due to the current condition of their teeth and gums. In our office this could not be farther from the truth. We understand your fears, and we will not judge you.

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Dental Phobia

Some patients experience a more extreme fear of the dentist, called dental phobia. This crippling fear can cause them to have a panic attack just calling for an appointment. They may feel so tense thinking about their appointment that they can’t sleep the night before. Our staff will make every effort to ensure the comfort of phobic patients. We will limit the amount of time you need to sit in the waiting room and allow you to take your time walking back to the exam room. Dr. Eshom will take as much time as necessary to explain procedures to you and help you feel at ease.

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Sedation Dentistry

On some occasions, our efforts to provide gentle, minimally invasive service are not enough to calm a patient’s anxiety. For these patients, we offer sedation dentistry. Through the use of sedation, Dr. Eshom can keep you in the chair long enough to perform several procedures at once, and when he finishes, you will have very little, if any, memory of the experience. We offer several sedation options in our office, including:

  • Nitrous Oxide – Sometimes called “laughing gas” due to the feeling of euphoria it can induce, nitrous oxide leaves the patient feeling calm and relaxed. The effects of the gas begin to diminish as soon as the mask is removed, leaving you free to return to work or any other activities.
  • Oral Sedation – The doctor will prescribe anti-anxiety medication, which you will take at home before coming to your appointment. Depending on the dosage, this medication can relax you or put you into a twilight sleep, in which you will have the ability to answer the doctor’s questions, but will have no awareness or memory of the procedure.
  • IV Sedation – The deepest form of sedation, the doctor typically only uses this method for patients with severe anxiety. We administer the sedative directly into your bloodstream, putting you in a state of deep relaxation for the entirety of the procedure.

Most sedation options wear off very slowly, with the exception of nitrous oxide, so you will need to have a responsible adult drive you home after your procedure.

Call Us Today

Don’t let dental anxiety keep you from a healthy mouth. Call our San Diego, CA dental office today at (858) 455-9151 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Eshom.

scared of dental visits

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