If you dread visiting the dentist, you’re not alone. Many adults suffer from dental phobias that can turn even routine check-ups into terrifying ordeals. These phobias can be so severe that they prevent sufferers from accessing general dentistry or cosmetic treatments. Fortunately, there are ways to keep a dental phobia in check. If fear is preventing you from getting the dental care you need, then these tips could help you.

  1. Talk to Your Dentist
    It’s important that your dentist knows about your dental fear. If your dentist is aware that you feel uncomfortable, then he or she can take action to help you feel more at ease. For example, you might feel better if you listen to music during the treatment to distract yourself, and most dentists would be more than willing to accommodate this. You can also agree a sign with your dentist that you want to take a break from treatment, such as raising a finger. This kind of code can be very helpful for communicating when your mouth is full of dental tools
  2. Consider Finding a New Dentist
    If your dentist is unsympathetic, then consider switching to someone else who can meet your general dentistry needs. Many dentists are kind, compassionate and patient, so don’t let one bad experience put you off the whole industry. You could try looking for a dentist who specializes in dealing with anxious patients.
  3. Use Sedation Dentistry
    Some dentists use sedatives, such as nitrous oxide (“happy gas”) or oral anti-anxiety medications, to help patients to relax. These medications usually make people feel slightly sleepy and very calm, although you would still be in control of your body and aware of what is happening to you. Ask your dentist whether you could use one of these forms of sedation while undergoing general dentistry or cosmetic treatments.
  4. Try Hypnosis
    If your dental phobia is so severe that you can’t bear the thought of even setting foot in a dental office, then you could try hypnosis as a way of tackling your fear. A qualified hypnotherapist can put you into a relaxed state of mind and help you to work through your phobia of visiting the dentist. After a few sessions, you might feel ready to visit a dentist who specializes in treating anxious patients

If a dental phobia is preventing you from getting the check-ups or treatment that you need, then you need to take action to overcome it. Communication is key, so start by speaking to one of our highly trained dentists here at Killiney Dental about your fears. You also have the options of using specialized dentistry services for anxious patients, sedative medications or hypnosis to help you manage your fear.

Dr. Gerald O'Connor B.D.S., N.U.I. (hons) (Principal Dentist & Owner)

Dr Gerald O’Connor qualified with honours from University College Cork in 1998, where he achieved his Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree and was awarded the Kerr Prize for Restorative Dentistry. Following his qualification, he spent 6 years gaining experience in a dental clinic in Essex before buying his own practice in 2004. Dr O’Connor quickly added a second location in 2006 and formed the Oak Dental Group.

After returning to Ireland in 2013, he set up Killiney Dental with his long-time partner Rosemarie. Gerald has a wealth of experience in dentistry with a vested interest in modern, evidence-based solutions. He enjoys implementing new dental treatments that are minimally invasive for patients without compromising their desire for an idealised smile. Dr O’Connor currently serves on the Irish Dental Association’s Quality and Patient Safety Committee. In his spare time, he enjoys films, music, fiction writing and being anywhere in sight of the sea.