What is Gentle Dentistry?

What is Gentle Dentistry?

Approximately 75% of Americans are estimated to experience anxiety in anticipation of visiting the dentist.  About five to ten percent of that group have a great fear that would categorize them as sufferers of dentophobia or dental phobia. The avoidance of dentists or dental procedures characterizes this fear.  Symptoms of dentophobia may also include tension or trouble sleeping the night before a dental appointment, feelings of physical illness, extreme nervousness while in the waiting area, and panic or trouble breathing when tools are placed in the mouth during an exam.

Many will forego primary major treatment for decades and endure gum infections, pain, or even broken teeth to dodge the dentist. Evading regular dental care may take an emotional toll as well.  According to the Faculty of the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine,

“People with dental phobia have a higher risk of gum disease and early tooth loss. Discolored or damaged teeth can make people self-conscious and insecure. They may smile less or keep their mouths partly closed when they speak. Some people can become so embarrassed about how their teeth look that their personal and professional lives begin to suffer. There is often a serious loss of self-esteem.”

Your dentist understands the importance of a consistent and ongoing oral health plan.  Their staff takes time to educate clients and promote dental options that will encourage even the most terrified patient to call on their office.  First, recognizing the potential roots of dentophobia, which vary for each person, provides knowledge to combat the fear.  The most common cause is pain or previous negative experience at the dentist’s office.  This reason is most likely given in adults 24 years and older who may have had an uncomfortable encounter before advances in more pain-free dentistry.  Your family dentist wants their patients to know that a safe, comfortable relaxation method does exist and dental treatment does not mean pain.


If dentophobia prevents you from taking control of your dental health, then it may be time to consider moderate or oral sedation. We suggest a consultation to see if this is a suitable treatment option for you.  What does treatment look like?  A dentist explains it.

“The dentist will select an appropriate anti-anxiety or sedative drug for you to take at a predetermined time before your appointment.  These safe, widely-prescribed drugs diminish anxiety and help patients relax.”

What happens next?

Depending on the necessary dosage, most patients will become so relaxed they may drift into a restful sleep during their procedure but be easily awakened with a gentle shake. In contrast to deep sedation and general anesthesia, the benefit of oral sedation is that the patient can remain responsive, alert, and able to communicate with the dentist, depending on the level of sedation.  Patients can rest assured that they are being well-monitored throughout their procedure.  It is essential to have a family member or friend accompany the patient to and from the appointment and stay until the sedation wears off.

Patients may also choose oral sedation if they have a sensitive gag reflex, have trouble feeling numb after receiving local anesthetic, or cannot rest comfortably in a dentist’s exam chair due to neck or back problems.  If you believe you are a candidate for oral sedation, contact the kind and concerned staff for an evaluation.


Gentle dentistry is an effective and modern way to achieve a healthy, beautiful smile. It focuses on providing a safe and comfortable experience for patients of all ages. By combining advanced technology with the latest techniques, gentle dentistry can help to reduce anxiety and ensure that everyone’s dental needs are met in a relaxed environment. You can enjoy lasting oral health without fear or worry with the good gentle dentistry practice.

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