It’s been a while since you’ve been to the dentist. You may have recently moved and gotten a new job where the hours don’t seem to allow for you to get out to see one. Or perhaps there’s something else that’s holding you back: fear.  The question is – how to get over dental phobia?

Ask yourself what may have caused this anxiety in the first place. Did you have a bad experience with a dentist when you were a child? Also, had you seen a dentist for the first time in a long time? That might explain why it didn’t go well, since chances are good you may have not treated your teeth and gums as well as you might have with regular six-month check-ups. There’s a reason why it’s called “dental phobia” – it’s not always rational.

Ideally, the first thing that you would do is research the dentist that you’re going to see. There’s a wealth of information out there. Your first source could be the people in your inner circle who have gone to this dentist before. They can tell you what it’s like – though there are some people who like a no-nonsense dentist or dental hygienist that come in and get the work done with minimal conversation while others like those with a more conversational approach. Tailor your expectations about what you like.

After talking to your family members, friends, neighbors, and even co-workers whose opinions you trust, you can take the next step in terms of researching the dentist you’re considering – using the internet. There’s a wealth of information out there and people are not afraid to leave their opinions out there. Use your gut to determine if these are genuine ratings or if they come from less-than-honest sources. It’s usually pretty easy to tell what is what, especially if there’s a glut of five-star rankings and nothing written about them.

Once you’ve done your research and found that the dentist that you’re considering apparently has the personality and their patients like their work, it’s time for you to go see for yourself. Remember, trust your own impressions from the very second you walk into the office. Is it a reassuring place with helpful staff that makes you feel a valuable patient or do they just act like you’re next in a long line of people coming in for the day?

Next, when you go in for your appointment, see how the dental hygienist or dentist is. Are they friendly or are they seemingly preparing for another rote examination? Was the X-ray process smooth? Do they take care as they clean your teeth and gums? If you’re anxious, have they discussed the possibility of sedation dentistry with you, even if it’s just medication to take the edge off before the appointment begins? There’s several types of sedation, from being awake throughout to twilight sedation, where the patient is under the whole time. They should be willing to work with you through your issues.

Dr. Robert Trager has had his dental practice for several decades and he knows how to ease the concerns of those who visit him.