The dentist from Little Shop of Horrors working in Bill Murray's mouth

Since it’s that special time of year when things get a little spooky in celebration of Halloween, we decided to make our weekly dental blog post about something a little controversial: the fear of dentists! (cue scary music) *bum, bum, buuuuuummmmm!* Fitting, right?

People have always had a fear of dentists, but why? We have answers for you, and who knows? Maybe we’ll even teach you how to overcome your fear of dentists along the way!

What Is the Fear of Dentists Called?

The fear of dentists is usually referred to as dentophobia but is officially known as odontophobia. For those curious about the etymology of the word odontophobia, “odonto–” comes from the Ancient Greek word for tooth while “-phobia” is Ancient Greek for “fear.”

Why Do People Have Such An Extreme Fear of Dentists?

Interestingly enough, teeth and the field of dentistry have always been associated with fear. And while that may seem a little silly to us in 2021, in the 1600s, teeth were one of the top-six leading causes of death.

Yup, you read that right. People actually died from something as simple as an untreated cavity. And trust us when we say that you don’t even want to know about what they passed for dental tools back in the day (but here’s an old painting anyway).

An old painting of old fashioned dentistry tools

When you see a tool like that, it’s not difficult to guess what question is running through your mind: how did they manage pain back in the good ole’ days?

Well, between 2250 BC and the 1500s, they used all sorts of options to help manage dental pain from a Babylonian clay made of henbane seed and gum mastic to wine to a synthesized compound commonly referred to as ether. These were more or less effective so it’s no stretch of the imagination as to why people might have some inherited trauma associated with dental work.

How to Overcome Your Fear of Dentists

Luckily for us all, modern science and dentistry have come a long way since then. Here at Midtown Dental Group, we want to make sure your experience with us is an enjoyable one. Our offices aren’t just equipped for state-of-the-art dental treatments; they’re equipped for your comfort, too!

But we understand that some patients may still have reservations or fears when it comes to dental visits. So here’s some advice from the experts:

9 Tips and Tricks to Help You Overcome Your Fear of the Dentist

1. Find a Friend:

If you’re feeling frightened or anxious about your next dental visit, bring a friend or family member who’s going to help you through the process.

2. The Practice Makes Perfect:

Just like no two smiles are the same, no two dentists are the same, either! Finding a friendly and supportive dentist you can trust is important.

3. Transparency:

We get that your previous experiences with other dental offices may have felt alienating or even unnerving. That’s why we do our best to be transparent with you about all processes, costs, and treatments.

4. Modern Amenities:

Gone are the days when going to the dentist was boring. Now, we provide music, TV, and even blankets to make sure you feel comfortable every step along the way to a perfect smile.

5. Breathing Techniques:

When dental professionals are working near your face, it can be easy to forget to breathe. We recommend ​​”4-7-8 breathing” which is taking a deep breath to the count of 4, holding that breath to the count of 7, and then exhaling to the count of 8. It’s very soothing!

6. Timing Is Everything:

We offer options for you to fill out your paperwork online so you don’t have to arrive too early and sit in the lobby, shivering with anticipation!

7. Pressing Pause:

The last thing we want is for you to put on a brave face. If you’re ever uncomfortable, please let us know and our team will give you a break whenever you need it.

8. Book Your Next Appointment Before You Go:

We do our best to book your next dental cleaning while we have you in the office so you don’t have to stress about scheduling it yourself. We’ll even send your reminders! Goodbye, anxiety!

9. And Lastly, Sedation Dentistry in New York City:

Some people can’t get over their dentophobia, and that’s ok – we don’t take it personally! But just because you have a fear of the dentist doesn’t mean that you should miss out on receiving quality care from dental professionals. That’s why we provide nitrous oxide or oral sedatives to qualifying patients. Now there’s no need to stress through a procedure.

Here Are Some Fear of Dentist Reddit Stories We Just Had To Share

User, u/DrMackDDS2014, asked: “Redditors who are terrified of the dentist, why are you afraid?” and the answers they got were pretty interesting. Below, you’ll find a quick selection of what people had to say.

  • “Been scared as a kid. It’s the equipment that scares me I think. Needles too. Noises…” – u/throwyoworkaway
  • “…the anticipated pain associated with the sound of the drill.” – u/cosmickornik
  • “The pain is nothing, it’s the thought of the pain. I don’t like being in the waiting room, I don’t like the drive there, I don’t like waiting at all. I don’t like the first needle. But the actual work done doesn’t hurt.” – u/[anonymoususer]
  • “The pain I can take, the bill is tough.” – u/I_miss_geocities

No Pain For You Or Your Wallet

Don’t fear. Unlike Reddit user, u/I_miss_geocities, you won’t have to experience any pain – physical or monetary. At Midtown Dental Group, we understand that getting the quality dental care you and your family deserves is a priority. That’s why we accept insurance, CareCredit®, HSAs and FSAs, and all major credit and debit cards. We also offer flexible payment plans. Not sure which option is best for you and your budget? Call one of our team members today. They’ll be happy to help!

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