Dental Phobia by Jimmy Kilimitzoglou, DDS, FACD, FPFA, DABOI, MAGD, FAAID, FICOI

In health care, as in life, small problems require small solutions. If you neglect them and wait too long, those small problems lead to bigger issues that can lead to catastrophic events, requiring extensive and expensive treatments. COVID certainly validated this phenomenon. Many times, this neglect is through no fault of the patient. Dental phobia is a good example of that.

Fear is a reasonable, proportional, and appropriate sense of caution to danger. It is a normal reaction to a threat. Phobia is an irrational, exaggerated fear or dread in the absence of true danger. It can severely restrict your life. With respect to health, phobia can keep someone from getting preventive care.

There are a few dental providers who are passionate about managing patients with dental phobia and dedicate their professional life to this cause. This involves multiple aspects: training, continuing education, technology, equipment, psychology, and team development.

When someone needs a tooth removed or a surgical treatment, an oral surgeon can easily treat a patient with dental phobia as surgeons routinely perform sedation. But what about phobic patients who require a deep cleaning, x-rays or fillings? Or what about someone who panics with impression material in their mouth? What about someone with a severe gag response?

There are dental offices who can arrange an anesthesiologist to perform general anesthesia or sedation while the dentist performs the dental services. But did you know that there is a small niche of dentists who provide sedation and comprehensive oral care? Think of it as a one-stop shop where the person who you build trust with, along with their highly trained team, takes good care of you from start to finish.

When people are consumed and controlled by their fears it is crippling, indeed. Perhaps it originated from a past traumatic experience or was transferred by a parent. Sometimes it could be something else.

By identifying the fear, triggers and specific concerns, a customized plan can be made. Sometimes the trigger is a high-pitched sound, or a smell or a sensation. Sometimes it is a fear of choking or losing control. Oftentimes it is fear of feeling pain or simply the sight of needles. The good news is that there is always something that can be done to address each and every concern.

With the advent of sedation, we can literally take care of years of dental issues in as little as one visit. Patients with special needs will have treatment done under sedation where diagnostic, preventative and definitive treatment is rendered in one visit.

These patients may exert hours of online research and multiple failed attempts to contact one of these offices. When they finally muster the courage to stay on the phone, that call is delicate and precious; it requires empathy, compassion and a specific level of expertise. The team member who handles that call needs to have understanding, patience, and genuine care. These patients need a provider who does it all and does it well.

Once we “catch them up” on their necessary treatment, many times they can slowly be weaned off of sedation. Other times, not so much. Everyone is uniquely different.

Personally, I find it truly satisfying and rewarding to be able to comprehensively help this demographic. To have the ability to give them hope, restore their health, give them their smile back, get them out of pain, enhance their enjoyment of food and overcome this overwhelming condition, is a gift from heaven.

If you, a friend or loved one suffers from dental phobia, call the office for more information and help.

Jimmy Kilimitzoglou, DDS, FACD,
ESI Healthy Dentistry
42 Terry Road, Smithtown, NY 11787
Tel (631) 979 7991 / Fax (631) 979 7992

– A D V E R T O R I A L –




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