How To Pick A Dentist If You're A White-Knuckle Patient

Are you one of those people who hate to go to the dentist worse than having your tax return audited? Well, you're not alone. There are some things you can do, however, to make the experience less unpleasant, starting with finding a dentist who is sympathetic to your needs.

Here are some tips to find a great dentist that you feel comfortable with:
1. Word of mouth ... ask other dentist-phobic friends who they see and how their dentist handles their treatment

2. Use the American Dental Association website to locate a dentist in your geographical area. Then call that office and ask about the dentist's treatment philosophy and whether s/he uses any of the new less-painful and anxiety producing technology like lasers and air abrasion

3. Ask your physician for a referral

4. Ask the dentist you are thinking about using for a pre-treatment appointment to discuss your concerns and his/her treatment approach; you may have to pay for the appointment, but it is far better to pay for a short visit than sit in the chair of a dentist you don't trust

5. Check with your local or state dental association for referrals; many dentists advertise their treatment philosophies and highlight their understanding of patient concerns about dental treatment

The most important thing you can do when you speak with a dentist before deciding to go in for treatment, is to ask if s/he is willing to accommodate your needs and how your concerns will be relieved. Many if not most dentists will be responsive and willing to work with you.

The key to finding a dentist who will be in tune with your needs is to be completely candid about your fear/anxiety/dread of dental treatment. Many people fear the pain, the sound of the drill, or the confinement of sitting in the chair with stuff hanging out of their mouths, and most dentists have encountered more than one patient who feels this way. Even if you just get the willies thinking about going to the dentist for a cleaning and can't quite define the reason behind it, you should talk with the dentist first and let your feelings be know so he or she can take the right steps to respond to your situation. Honest, open communication with the dentist will provide the information needed to treat you, and it's the best way to ensure that you will be satisfied with your care.

Back to article list