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Understanding Dental Anxiety, Dental Fear and Dental Phobia

man with a toothache

When it comes to going to the dentist, a certain level of anxiety or apprehension is normal. The question is, do your feelings towards the dentist affect your oral health? If you’ve avoided your routine cleanings or ignored tooth pain because you can’t stand the thought of sitting in the dental chair, it is time to take action. There are many ways to reduce your uneasiness about dental care, ranging from deep breathing to sedation dentistry.

What About Dental Fear and Dental Phobia?

You’ve probably heard the terms dental anxiety, dental fear, and dental phobia. While they are often used interchangeably, there are some distinct differences. Knowing where you fit in can help you and your dentist overcome your negative feelings about the dental care.

Dental anxiety refers to feeling worried or uneasy about something unknown. Therefore, nearly all patients experience anxiety to some degree, especially when they are having new dental procedure. Dental fear, on the other hand, is a response a known danger. Dental fear often plague patients who had a bad experience in the past.

Dental phobia refers to a more intense feeling. Patients may feel panicked and/or paralyzed with fear at the mere thought of going to the dentist. These are the patients that may find themselves in a serious dental problem because they have avoided the dentist for too long or let a simple dental health problem go untreated.

What Can You Do?

Whether you have mild dental anxiety or full-blown dental phobia, you don’t have to suffer. Here are some steps you can follow to begin getting the dental treatments you deserve, without making you a nervous wreck.

Recognize your specific fears. Dental phobia and anxiety can trigger from a range of factors. Do you fear needles or dental pain? Do you hate the smells or sounds of the dental office? Do you have a bad memory of the dentist as a child?

Find the right dentist. It is critical that you find a dentist who is equipped to treat your anxiety and fear. It is best to find an office that values comfort dentistry and includes soothing amenities throughout the office as well as sedation dentistry options.

Stay distracted. Again, the right dental practice will help with this one. It can be very helpful if patients are given amenities to help take their mind away from the procedure being performed. This may involve wearing headphones to listen to music or watching TV in the treatment room.

Ask for sedation dentistry. By far the most effective tool for helping patients with dental phobia is sedation dentistry. Don’t worry; sedation dentistry doesn’t mean you will be put to sleep during your dental treatment. There are options in oral conscious sedation (taking a pill before you arrive) as well as nitrous oxide (“laughing gas” that you breathe during the procedure). In either case, you’ll be in a state of complete relaxation, but still able to communicate and move throughout the procedure. With nitrous oxide, you can even drive yourself home!

At Mitzi Morris, DMD, we are fully qualified to treat patients with dental anxiety, dental fear and dental phobia. In fact, our office centers around the comfort and relaxation of our patients. Whether it’s been years since your last dental cleaning or you’d really like to invest in cosmetic dentistry, we won’t let your fear and apprehension stand in the way!

Posted on behalf of Mitzi D. Morris

1295 Hembree Rd, Suite B202
Roswell, GA 30076

Phone: 678-459-2990

Monday: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tuesday: 7:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wednesday: 7:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thursday: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Friday: 8:00 am - 3:00 pm

Our Patient Reviews

Mitzi D. Morris, DMD, PC

4.8/ 5.0

Based on 44 reviews

  • Dr. Morris is an excellent dentist. Her ability to relate to her patients makes her a stand-out amongst those in her profession. She practices dentistry with superior technique and care. Her staff is friendly, helpful, and accommodating. I feel she hires only the best! One special mention: I suffer from panic attacks at times- along with claustrophobia. Dr. Morris is the first dentist I have ever had who helped calm my fears. Thus, my experience exceeded expectations! Great service!

    Cathy Q
  • Definitely would recommend Dr. Morris to anyone. She has been my dentist for over 8 years! Dr. Morris is extremely personable and is serious about the completing the best care possible. Great established dental team! Very accommodating to your schedule.

    Kelly T
  • Great and very educational experience. Compared to my last two dentists this experience blows them both out of the water. The staff is very friendly, and very helpful. I had to go in for a total of four visits a few weeks apart from each other. They made me feel very comfortable the entire time and kept making sure I was pleased. Getting a deep cleaning went very smoothly. It was also brought to my attention that the way I was flossing was incorrect. And have since changed methods. I worked specifically with Dr. Morris. She was very nice, and took the time to explain things. Which is a huge plus for me. Dr. Morris and the staff members worked effortlessly together. I was comfortable enough to sit back and relax, strangely enough, while having cavities drilled and fillings put in. Billing and scheduling appointments, as well as follow up for confirmation of upcoming appointments was very easy. I will say my favorite part of the experience was how friendly of an environment the staff has created. That alone is deserving of a 5 star review, and the rest is honestly icing on the cake. I highly recommend this practice on all fronts and will continue using them!

    Eric F
  • I transferred from a long-term and very good relationship with my former dentist because of a move, and I was a little apprehensive about a new dentist. Dr. Morris has been great. She is friendly, patient-concerned and the office is new, comfortable and clean. Everyone seems to enjoy working there. I feel like I'm in good hands!

    Christopher P
  • Dr. Morris and her staff are very professional. Additionally, she as well as her staff have an excellent "bedside manner." The office is new and well equipped. If one has an appointment and an earlier one opens up, Dr. Morris offers it to her patients as she did with my last appointment.

    David G
  • I have never met a staff so nice and charming. This staff will make you feel comfortable and relaxed in Dr. Morris's Spa like office and everyone is professional and approachable too. Andrea R. explained the process of my appointment and procedures and is definitely a highly-educated and thorough dental hygenist -- SHE IS A ROCKSTAR. I'm so glad that Dr. Morris and her dental team have been my "go-to" for the last 5 years, and I wont be going anywhere else! Overall - A++ Dr. Morris...highly recommended to my family and friends!!!

    Adam O
  • I've been a patient of Dr. Mitzi Morris for many years, and recommend her without reservation. The office is modern. clean and spacious. The staff has always been welcoming and very helpful. And the women who work for her as dental technicians are fantastic; they do a professional and effective deep cleaning, but with a careful, gentle touch. It is clear to me that Dr. Morris reads her professional journals and upgrades her practice to stay very current with the latest best practices in dentistry. (I have had some dentists who stopped updating their practices after leaving dental school!) With Dr. Morris you can count on receiving the very latest dental technology. Her prices are very fair, and I have never been surprised by an unexpected cost or had problems with insurance not covering services rendered.

    Bruce C
  • I have never experienced an office so down to earth, so outgoing and so willing to satisfy. If you've grown to dread the dentist then lay down your sword and give this office a shot.

    Marc Mamane

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Office Hours

Monday: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tuesday: 7:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wednesday: 7:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thursday: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Friday: 8:00 am - 3:00 pm

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1295 Hembree Rd, Suite B202
Roswell, GA 30076

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