Dental Anxiety and Dental Phobia: What’s the Difference?

dental anxiety and dental phobia from Dentists in Lincoln, NE

Do you feel guilty about having dental phobia?



We know that going to the dentist can be scary, and the reasons are different for everyone, and that’s okay. We understand! We’re here to explain the differences and let you know how we can help. In our article we’ll cover:

– How can a dentist find nervous patients? We’ll explain how others with dental anxiety can relate to you.

– What is dental phobia and anxiety? The differences between dental phobia and dental anxiety explained.

– How common is dental anxiety? We’ll share famous people who also experience dental phobia.

– What helps with dental anxiety? Suggestions from our Lincoln, NE dentists about helping patients alleviate their anxiety.


Do know you are not alone. In this article, Dr. Christine Bergman, a “dental phobia dentist near me” at South Lincoln Family Dentistry, explains the difference between dental anxiety and dental phobia, and she’ll also offer some interesting facts about famous people who did not like dentists.

The model of South Lincoln Family Dentistry was founded and based on my personal and professional experience as a dental patient, parent and practicing dentist. Have you been looking for excellent dental care, but are afraid of the dentist? Perhaps you are trying to live healthier and want to make dentistry a part of your healthy lifestyle.

South Lincoln Family Dentistry has compassionate, caring professionals. All of our dental professionals are health oriented to encompass your overall well-being and would love to take care of you. Need to find a more convenient location? No problem! We have dental office locations in South, East, West, North and Central Lincoln.

How can I relate to all patients who are scared of the dentist?

As a child, I suffered from extreme dental phobia; I was not too fond of routine cleanings, fillings, or going to the dentist in general. As I grew older, I realized just how important the connection was between dental health and overall health. I knew that combining my passion for helping people and my love for dentistry could make a difference. I knew I could provide outstanding care for all patients, whether they were afraid of the dentist or not, in a kind and gentle manner.

Working with nervous and scared patients just like myself, I strive to make a positive impact by providing non-judgmental, gentle dentistry to all patients at every appointment. In addition, I can help improve your overall health by first improving your dental health. I would honor the opportunity to help you have a healthy, confident smile.

LEARN MORE ABOUT
THE IMPORTANCE OF DENTAL HEALTH FOR YOUR OVERALL HEALTH

South Lincoln Family Dentistry, Designed with You in Mind

It has been my goal to build a skilled team of dental professionals at South Lincoln Family Dentistry who can work together with all other offices of Nebraska Family Dentistry in Lincoln, NE to provide gentle dentistry in a comfortable environment for our patients.

Together with my partners, we designed all offices with your comfort and convenience in mind. We want you to feel comfortable and relaxed while in our care. Therefore, we offer multiple amenities to make your visit to the dentist more enjoyable while receiving dental care. We also know that your time is valuable. So, we offer scheduling options that work even with our busiest patients’ schedules. We want to make sure that the friendly team at South Lincoln Family Dentistry makes each visit as comfortable as possible.

Dental Anxiety and Dental Phobia: What’s the Difference?

Dental phobia and dental anxiety are common concerns for many patients. It is estimated that 45 million people suffer from anxiety related to dental treatment in the United States. This anxiety is often related to the fear of discomfort or needles causing discomfort. Some people have higher anxiety in general and these feelings can be intensified at the dental office.

Although the expressions dental phobia or dental anxiety seem interchangeable, it is important to distinguish between the two in order to help patients find ways to cope with them.

Dental anxiety: Anxiety in general, usually stems from a fear of the unknown. When treating patients with dental anxiety, we strive to be sensitive to their concerns and communicate clearly with them before, during, and after treatment so they feel that they know what to expect. We have found that this greatly improves most patients’ experience while in our care.

Patients with dental phobia may feel an extremely intense and irrational fear of situations and objects they perceive to be threatening. Many patients with dental phobia react to the sounds associated with treatment and have a strong fear of discomfort during the treatment.

Do you have any dental phobia or dental anxiety?

Discover Zen room Like A Day at the Spa 

We know that a cold and sterile dental office is not usually the coziest or most inviting space for anxious patients. For patients with anxiety and dental phobia, we offer a calming, quiet environment for their dental treatment in our Zen Rooms ( Located At the North location of Nebraska Family Dentistry—>Northstar Dental.)  We have seen that aromatherapy, soft music, blankets, and headphones can help ease anxiety during appointments.

If patients still have difficulty relaxing, sleep dentistry or sedation dentistry is also available. This technique uses sedative medications and pain relievers to give patients the option of conscious sedation dentistry. During appointments, patients are still awake and responsive but are in a very calm and relaxed state.

Famous People and  Dental Phobia

If you have dental phobia you are not alone.  Many famous people are known for their dental anxiety or even dental phobia

In the United States, it is culturally very important to have a healthy looking smile. Especially for, celebrities and politicians who are often photographed or appear on tv. Having dental problems or dental anxiety is very common and even those in the public eye suffer from these issues.

George Washington, our first president had bad teeth and famously wore dentures for most of his adult life.

Although Abraham Lincoln bravely fought to bring freedom to slaves during his presidency, he is rumored to have suffered from dental anxiety. Lincoln’s fear stemmed from a tooth extraction without anesthesia which was not available at the time when his dentist removed a part of his jawbone. As a result of his negative experience, it is reported that he self-administered his own chloroform for his future dental treatment.

John Adams, the author of the Declaration of Independence, started smoking at the age of 8 and ignored his dental health as an adult. As a result, he lost most of his teeth and chose not to replace them with dentures and spoke with a lisp.

It does not matter if you are a regular person hoping to advance in your professional life or personal life or if you are a politician or celebrity. Having a beautiful, healthy smile is an important way to improve your quality of life. Hiring managers may subconsciously judge people who have poor dental health or who are unable to smile and put forth a confident image in an interview.

People who do not smile frequently may seem less approachable to others in social situations. It is important for our social lives to be healthy and we can positively reflect that, with a healthy smile.

Howie Mandel and dental phobia

Howie Mandel used to suffer from severe dental anxiety related to the fear of germs. He suffers from OCD, which intensifies his dental anxiety. Howie chose to change his smile at the age of 57, with veneers. 

During the procedure of getting veneers, he was very anxious, but the dental team working with him worked hard to keep him comfortable by creating a sense of safety for him. Because of his fear of germs, they put their gloves on in front of him to show him that they touched nothing before they touched his mouth. After his experience, Howie believes that it is possible to overcome severe dental anxiety, and that it is important for patients to communicate their fears to their providers for a positive outcome.

Our gentle and caring Lincoln dentists have  a few suggestions on helping patients alleviate their anxiety:

  • Try to find the reason behind your anxiety. Be sure you talk to your dentist about it and call the office ahead of time to see if they seem sensitive to your fears and concerns.
  • When you feel confident you’ve found the reason for your dental anxiety, you can try a few things at your appointment to see which one works well for you.  Bring headphones and listen to music that will help you feel relaxed and happy.
  • Try not to schedule your appointment on a day that is already very busy or filled with important meetings.
  • Keep your communication with the dental team clear, letting them know of any triggers that will make you feel more anxious during your appointment.
  • Ask questions about future appointments. If you know what to expect, you may feel less anxious about it.
  • Have a clear agreement with your dentist about how you will let them know if you are uncomfortable or are having any discomfort during treatment.

If you are anxious about dental treatment, we are happy to see you in our office and help you overcome your fears. We hope to see you soon!


The information on this page was written by Dr. Christine Bergman.

This gentle Lincoln, NE dentists, says: “My team and I will go out of our way to ensure you feel at home. We take the time to understand all of your concerns because we genuinely care. Let us help improve your health with the most advanced dental techniques in a soothing, relaxing environment. We are the gentle dentists in Lincoln, NE.”

You can schedule with this Lincoln, NE dentist, or her partners, online 24/7 at a Nebraska Family Dentistry Location near you. This “dentist near me” serves the local communities close to Lincoln. Some of the communities include Waverly, Davey, Raymond, Garland, Ceresco, Greenwood, and Malcolm, Roca, Bennet, Firth, Crete, Hickman, and many more!


 Your Compassionate and Gentle Dentists in Lincoln, NE

Nebraska Family Dentistry has multiple Lincoln Dental Clinics!
Choose any location “dentist near me” convenient for you.