Question: No matter what I say or do, I cannot convince my husband to go to the dentist. It’s been years since he has gone – how can I convince him? Joan M. – Rivervale, NJ
Answer: Your husband is not alone, this is a common problem. It often takes a serious or dangerous situation to get the fearful patient to see the dentist. Waiting until disaster strikes only makes treating the problem more difficult.
If possible, it’s important to find out what the basis of the fear is, and to discuss the possible ways to handle the fear before ever touching the patient. The fear may stem from the lack of control the patient feels when being treated or the patient may actually have extremely sensitive teeth.
Patience on the part of the hygienist or dentist along with anti anxiety medications and newer anesthetics and techniques along with nitrous oxide can go a long way toward soothing the nerves of the anxious patient. In more extreme cases, IV sedation or hospitalization may be necessary in order to overcome rare cases of extreme anxiety. We find that the majority of patients can be treated safely and effectively once the dentist understands the individual situation of the fearful patient.