Justin K. Hillock D.D.S.: Tips for People Who Fear Dentists

May 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

As a busy dentist who maintains dual practices at Guthrie Center Family Dentistry and Coon Rapids Family Dentistry in Iowa, Justin K. Hillock, D.D.S. frequently works with fearful patients. Many individuals experience anxiety about visiting the dentist, and in some cases the phobia becomes so extreme people avoid seeking appropriate dental care. Fearful dental patients typically fall into one of three categories:

1. Patients with dental anxiety fear the unknown, and are often anxious about the pain associated with an unfamiliar procedure.

2. Patients with dental fear react to a known stimulus. In other words, they have had the same procedure previously, know what it entails, and still reasonably or unreasonably dread it.

3. Patients with dental phobia experience extreme anxiety when confronted with the idea of dental care. They may recognize that the fear is irrational, but it persists, and they avoid any stimulus that makes them think about visiting the dentist.

Dr. Hillock understands the roots of fearful attitudes, and he works with patients in his office experiencing symptoms that fall across the spectrum of anxiety, fear, and phobia. He offers the following tips for overcoming these conditions:

1. Find a dentist who makes you feel comfortable.

2. Make your first appointment a simple consultation. Share your concerns with the doctor and his or her staff.

3. Look at all of the equipment the dentist or hygienist will use during your visit; ask how it works.

4. Schedule your first treatment appointment as just a cleaning.

5. Take music with you and listen to it during any procedures.

6. Discuss the option of receiving intravenous sedation.

7. Learn relaxation techniques to help during stressful situations.

8. Seek psychological help if your anxiety becomes a full-blown phobia.


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