Dental Anxiety and Dental Phobia: What’s the Difference?

Overcoming dental phobia oral sedation Lincoln,NE

Do you feel guilty about having dental phobia?

Do know you are not alone. In this article, Dr.Kathryn Alderman explains the difference between dental anxiety and dental phobia as well as gives some interesting facts about famous people who did not like dentists.

Hello, my name is Dr. Kathryn Alderman founder, practitioner, and one of the founders of Nebraska Family Dentistry, a group of dental offices in Lincoln NE.

I founded the model of our dental practices based on my personal and professional experience as a dental patient, parent and practicing dentist. Have you been looking for excellent dental care, but are afraid of the dentist? Perhaps you are trying to live healthier and want to make dentistry a part of your healthy lifestyle.

Our dental offices have compassionate, caring professionals. All of our dental professionals are health oriented to encompass your overall well-being and would love to take care of you. We have dental office locations in South, East, West, North and Central Lincoln.

What is my story and how can I relate to all patients who are scared of the dentist?

As a young woman, I had a life experience that inspired my career in dentistry and created my passion for providing dental care in a kind and gentle manner.

I suffered extensive dental trauma and had to complete a lot of dental treatment. I used to be very scared of any dental work. Every appointment was a very intimidating experience for me. In the beginning, I wanted to be a medical doctor, but after experiencing exceptional dental care, I decided that dentistry was a field where I could make a difference. Working with nervous and scared patients just like myself, I decided to become a dentist so that I could make a positive impact by providing gentle dentistry to all patients. I could also help them to improve their overall health starting first, by improving their dental health.

Nebraska  Family Dentistry, Designed with You in Mind

It has been my life’s work to build an expert team of like-minded dentists who work together at Nebraska Family Dentistry offices to provide gentle dentistry and a comfortable environment for our patients.

Together with my partners, we have designed Nebraska Family Dentistry offices with your comfort and convenience in mind. We want you to feel comfortable and relaxed while in our care. Therefore, we offer multiple amenities to make your visit to the dentist more enjoyable while receiving dental care. We also know that your time is valuable. So, we offer scheduling options that work even with our busiest patients’ schedules. We want to make sure that Nebraska Family Dentistry’s friendly team strives to make each visit as comfortable as possible.

Overcoming dental phobia oral sedation Lincoln,NE

Dental Anxiety and Dental Phobia: What’s the Difference?

Dental phobia and dental anxiety are common concerns for many patients. It is estimated that 45 million people suffer from anxiety related to dental treatment in the United States. This anxiety is often related to the fear of pain or needles causing discomfort. Some people have higher anxiety in general and these feelings can be intensified at the dental office.

Although the expressions dental phobia or dental anxiety seem interchangeable, it is important to distinguish between the two in order to help patients find ways to cope with them.

Dental anxiety: Anxiety in general, usually stems from a fear of the unknown. When treating patients with dental anxiety, we strive to be sensitive to their concerns and communicate clearly with them before, during, and after treatment so they feel that they know what to expect. We have found that this greatly improves most patients’ experience while in our care.

Patients with dental phobia may feel an extremely intense and irrational fear of situations and objects they perceive to be threatening. Many patients with dental phobia react to the sounds associated with treatment and have a strong fear of pain during the treatment.

Overcoming dental phobia oral sedation Lincoln,NE

Do you have any dental phobia or dental anxiety?

Discover Zen room Like A Day at the Spa 

We know that a cold and sterile dental office is not usually the coziest or most inviting space for anxious patients. For patients with anxiety and dental phobia, we offer a calming, quiet environment for their dental treatment in our Zen Rooms ( Located At the North location of Nebraska Family Dentistry—>Northstar Dental.)  We have seen that aromatherapy, soft music, blankets, and headphones can help ease anxiety during appointments.

If patients still have difficulty relaxing, sleep dentistry or sedation dentistry is also available. This technique uses sedative medications and pain relievers to give patients the option of conscious sedation dentistry. During appointments, patients are still awake and responsive but are in a very calm and relaxed state.

Famous People and  Dental Phobia

If you have dental phobia you are not alone.  Many famous people are known for their dental anxiety or even dental phobia

In the United States, it is culturally very important to have a healthy looking smile. Especially for, celebrities and politicians who are often photographed or appear on tv. Having dental problems or dental anxiety is very common and even those in the public eye suffer from these issues.

George Washington, our first president had bad teeth and famously wore dentures for most of his adult life.

Although Abraham Lincoln bravely fought to bring freedom to slaves during his presidency, he is rumored to have suffered from dental anxiety. Lincoln’s fear stemmed from a tooth extraction without anesthesia which was not available at the time when his dentist removed a part of his jawbone. As a result of his negative experience, it is reported that he self-administered his own chloroform for his future dental treatment.

Abraham Lincoln Dental phobia sedation dentistry Lincoln NE

John Adams, the author of the Declaration of Independence, started smoking at the age of 8 and ignored his dental health as an adult. As a result, he lost most of his teeth and chose not to replace them with dentures and spoke with a lisp.

It does not matter if you are a regular person hoping to advance in your professional life or personal life or if you are a politician or celebrity. Having a beautiful, healthy smile is an important way to improve your quality of life. Hiring managers may subconsciously judge people who have poor dental health or who are unable to smile and put forth a confident image in an interview.

People who do not smile frequently may seem less approachable to others in social situations. It is important for our social lives to be healthy and we can positively reflect that, with a healthy smile.

Howie Mandel and dental phobia

Howie Mandel used to suffer from severe dental anxiety related to the fear of germs. He suffers from OCD, which intensifies his dental anxiety. Howie chose to change his smile at the age of 57, with veneers. 

During the procedure of getting veneers, he was very anxious, but the dental team working with him worked hard to keep him comfortable by creating a sense of safety for him. Because of his fear of germs, they put their gloves on in front of him to show him that they touched nothing before they touched his mouth. After his experience, Howie believes that it is possible to overcome severe dental anxiety, and that it is important for patients to communicate their fears to their providers for a positive outcome.

alleviating dental anxiety and Dental phobia

Our gentle and caring Lincoln dentists have  a few suggestions on helping patients alleviate their anxiety:

  • Try to find the reason behind your anxiety. Be sure you talk to your dentist about it and call the office ahead of time to see if they seem sensitive to your fears and concerns.
  • When you feel confident you’ve found the reason for your dental anxiety, you can try a few things at your appointment to see which one works best for you.  Bring headphones and listen to music that will help you feel relaxed and happy.
  • Try not to schedule your appointment on a day that is already very busy or filled with important meetings.
  • Keep your communication with the dental team clear, letting them know of any triggers that will make you feel more anxious during your appointment.
  • Ask questions about future appointments. If you know what to expect, you may feel less anxious about it.
  • Have a clear agreement with your dentist about how you will let them know if you are uncomfortable or having pain during treatment.
Overcoming dental phobia oral sedation Lincoln,NE

If you are anxious about dental treatment, we are happy to see you in our office and help you overcome your fears. We hope to see you soon.”

 Your Compassionate and Gentle Dentists in Lincoln, NE

Nebraska Family Dentistry has multiple Lincoln Dental Clinics!
Choose any location “dentist near me” convenient for you.