Don't Let Fear and Anxiety Stand in the Way of Healthy Teeth

Humans are wired with a healthy sense of fear that alerts them to danger and keeps them safe from harm. But when rational, cautious behavior takes a turn and becomes extreme and paralyzing, it can stop you from doing even safe and positive things. 

From public speaking to spiders to confined spaces, there’s no shortage of things and situations people avoid due to fear and anxiety, but one of the top offenders is going to the dentist. Studies show that about 61% of people around the world admit to being afraid of the dentist.

At Momentum Dental Care in Bristow and Woodbridge, Virginia, Dr. Tamesha Morris and our team of dental experts understand your concerns, and we make special accommodations so you can receive the care you need without the anxiety. In fact, our goal is to offer you an experience that you not only tolerate, but enjoy! Here’s what you need to know about sedation dentistry.

How afraid are you?

If the thought of receiving dental care puts your nerves on edge, it’s important to narrow down what you're afraid of and how extreme your fears are.


If honest, most people feel slightly nervous about dental visits because there’s something unsettling about opening your mouth and allowing someone access, especially with tools. But this nervousness typically subsides after a few minutes as we talk with you, explain what to expect, and show you that our office environment is nonthreatening, nonjudgmental, comfortable, and welcoming. 


The next level is dental fear. This fear is strong enough to make you procrastinate and avoid dentists, sometimes for years. We find that most of our patients with dental fear either had a negative experience with a dentist sometime in their past, or they have poor dental health that’s getting worse, so they’re afraid of extensive work and a scolding from the dentist.


Phobias are irrational fears that dominate your thoughts and interfere with normal activities. Technically, phobias like dental phobia are anxiety disorders. If this describes you, you may have never been to a dentist in your life, and the thought of starting now terrifies you.

What are you afraid of?

People fall anywhere on the spectrum of dental fear from mildly anxious to utterly paralyzed, and the specific things they fear are just as varied. In our experience, most sources of anxiety stem from one of the following four issues:

1. Loss of control

Studies about fear reveal that most issues can be characterized by a single problem — loss of control. This certainly applies to most peoples’ perception of a dental visit. We do our best to help you feel less vulnerable and more in control here at Momentum Dental Care. Sometimes, simply adjusting the angle of the chair so you’re more upright than prone is all it takes to give you a fresh perspective.

2. Pain

No one likes pain. If this is your biggest fear, you’re in luck. We’re known for our gentle touch and painless procedures. If you’ve had painful dental experiences in your past, tell us about them. Knowing what you’ve been through helps us tailor your appointment to ease your mind.

3. Judgment

We hear stories all the time about how a dentist shamed a patient for neglecting their teeth. The last thing you need is a humiliating lecture — and you never get that here. We’re happy to see you every time you come into our judgment-free zone.

4. Sights, sounds, and smells

The most common reason people say they hate going to a dentist's office is that the sights, sounds, and smells are either unpleasant or trigger memories of a bad experience. Although we can’t eliminate every possible sensory stimulus, we do our best to offer a pleasant environment that calms your body and mind.

How sedation dentistry will change your mind about dental care

All of these tweaks and touches go a long way in making our patients feel comfortable here at Momentum Dental Care, but for those who have strong fears and extreme phobias, we offer extra help.

Whether you opt for oral sedation (a pill you take prior to your visit) or nitrous oxide (a medication you breathe in as we treat your teeth), you can expect to be fully relaxed and happy. These proven techniques are safe and effective for any degree of fear. Depending on your anxiety level, we can take the edge off of your nervousness, either keeping you awake but blissfully unaware, or completely asleep.

Now that you know what’s behind your fears and how to deal with them so you can keep your teeth healthy, it’s time to make an appointment with Momentum Dental Care  — the fearless dental experience.

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