Dont let your fear of the dentist hold you back, we can help!
What is Dental Phobia?
Dental Phobia is the extreme fear of dental
treatment, and often stems from previous traumatic dental experiences. At Perth
Sleep Dentistry we aim to try help people overcome this fear over time, or at
the very least provide mechanisms to help you get back to good oral health, and
Unfortunately, unlike many other phobias
(such as arachnophobia) at some point all of us are going to have to confront
our fear and head to the dentist. We understand how difficult this can be for
someone who has dental phobia or anxiety, and have worked with these type of
patients for a number of years.
Is dental phobia/anxiety common?
Yes it is. Around one in six Australian
adults, and one in ten kids reporting having a high level of dental fear,
according to research by the University of Adelaide. So therefore you are not
What are the main causes of dental phobia/anxiety?
Any of the following can cause an extreme
fear of the dentist, and this can occur anytime during someones life.
Understanding the cause of your phobia/anxiety can, in some cases, help in us
working through the fear with a patient.
- Previous traumatic experience
at the dentist, often this occurred at a younger age, however this still can
happen later in life
- Fear handed down from friends
and family. In some cases where our parents or family members had a fear of the
dentist, their own comments about their experiences can influence how we feel
about dental visits
- Lack of control or the feeling
of helplessness during the procedure
- A feeling of shame or
embarrassment around the current condition of your teeth. Some people avoid the
dentist out of fear of being judged or looked down on for neglecting issues
regarding their teeth.
- Fear of pain or discomfort
- The general fear or discomfort
of people being in your personal space
What are some signs of dental phobia/anxiety?
If you answer yes to any of the following
questions then you may have some degree of dental anxiety or phobia:
- Do you significantly avoid or
delay dental treatment, including regular check-ups?
- Do you find that you feel
physically sick/sweaty/high heart rate etc when you go to the dentist?
- If you book an appointment does
it make you feel anxious or uneasy in the days leading up to the appointment?
How do we help people who have dental anxiety/phobia?
Firstly and most important is we don’t
judge people on their current oral health. We are here to assist, not to have
an opinion on your situation. We understand the seriousness of dental anxiety,
and how much this can impact someones life.
We are here to help get you back to a
healthy and happy smile, and give you the mechanisms to manage it ongoing.
Our dentists start off with a simple
examination and chat with the patient. In patients that have dental anxiety the
most important thing for us to is get to know them and start to build some
trust, this takes time. We often won’t do any treatment at the first
appointment (unless it is an emergency) rather we get an understanding of the
situation, the patients concerns and start to work on a plan to provide
treatment in a way that the patient is comfortable with.
Our clinic is purpose build, and designed
in a way to make patients feel as comfortable as possible. We have a
consultation room, with no dental equipment at all, so if the patient is more
comfortable in discussing their treatment here then they are very welcome to do
We use the latest technology to make the
process as comfortable and painless as possible.
What can I do to help overcome my fear?
It is unlikely that there will be one
simple solution to your fear. Also purely having treatment done while you are
asleep won’t help to address the ongoing issue of your anxiety, nor will it set
you up to manage the ongoing care needed to maintain your oral health.
- Find the dentist that you are
comfortable with! We are very confident that Dr Nicole Hocek and Dr Adam
Peermamode are the right dentists to work with anxious patients, however you
need to find the person you are comfortable with and trust (if that is our
dentists, that’s great, if not that is ok as well). Look for a clinic with
caring, compassionate and experienced staff who will help to make you feel at
- Book a consultation with the
dentist. No treatment, just a simple examination and chat! Find out what work
needs to be done, and what is involved, you might be surprised that it is less
extensive than you first thought. If you would prefer for the discussion to be
in a consultation room, rather than the surgery, just ask!
- Be prepared with all of the
questions you would like answered. Write these questions down so you don’t miss
anything, and remember there are no stupid questions!
- Bring something with you that
will make you more comfortable. We do offer blankets, TV’s in some of our
surgeries, wireless noise-cancelling headphones, tea, coffee etc. However if
you like specific music or certain shows, bring it along. These things can help
provide a much needed distraction. The use of noise cancelling headphones can
also help eliminate some of the sounds that can help envoke the fear of being
at the dentist
- Take back some control! At the
end of the day we offer a range of treatment options, and you are always in
control of how you would like to proceed. This goes not only for the treatment
but also how this is performed, for example under IV Sedation, Nitrous Oxide,
general anaesthetic etc.
- Explore the wide range of
relaxation techniques that are available to you. Specific physical exercises
that help relax you and control your breathing can be beneficial
- Seek professional help! Some people
find great results by seeking out other health care professionals such as
psychologists, psychiatrists, councillors and hypnotherapists.
Give one of our friendly staff a call on 6118 2616, we are more than happy to discuss the options available with you. Click here to be taken to our contact page