Dental Phobia or Dental Anxiety?

If you struggle with going to the dentist you’re not alone. According to a British study 24% of people reported always feeling nervous about going to the dentist.

At Shelley Manor Dental we are used to welcoming nervous patients and we take plenty of time to talk and listen to them and make them feel relaxed.

However should you consider that your anxiety is particularly strong, we can recommend a programme of cognitive behaviour therapy (or CBT) to deal with dental phobia with Debbie Mathew here at Shelley Manor. Debbie has had great success with some previously anxious patients who now regularly attend their routine dental check-ups and hygiene appointments.

Read Richard’s Testimonial

Dear Shelley Manor Team,

Thanks so much for your great work.

After avoiding dentists for most of my adult life due to ‘dental phobia’ brought on by extensive treatment in childhood, I finally researched ‘dentists’ on the internet. The Shelley Manor website sounded perfect with the link to the lovely Debbie at Bournemouth Cognitive Behaviour. After emailing her and a short series of meetings she ‘held my hand’ and introduced me to Tim and the dental team. I have now had a course of treatment in a wonderfully calm, friendly environment free from pain or stress. I can recommend their services to anyone.

Richard R. October 2016

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

CBT is the treatment of choice for specific phobias, of which dental phobia is one.  The objective of CBT is to understand the origins of an individual’s dental phobia. As a treatment it assist patients in understanding and facing their fears. Under the guidance of their therapist patients have carefully considered graded exposure to face their fears. They use this learning journey to explore underlying beliefs they might hold about certain fears. CBT helps patients to normalise the physical symptoms of anxiety and understand how they often exacerbate the problem.

CBT to deal with dental phobia

Those with dental phobia tend to avoid the dentist to such a degree that they often leave small problems until they result in a dental emergency, which then ironically requires more intensive intervention. In collaboration with their therapist and dentist, CBT will help patients understand this vicious cycle and then break it by facing and challenging fears.

An initial assessment session with Debbie Matthew would normally last about an hour. During this meeting she seeks to understand the patient’s history and the development of their dental phobia. The cost of this is £75.00.  Further treatment sessions last around 45 minutes and will involve setting goals, assisting patients to face their fears using graded exposure to the dental environment and procedures. Debbie also educates her patients psychologically about how fears are developed and maintained and how our thoughts can influence this.

For some patients the use of relaxation techniques, mindfulness and learning to switch their attention may also be incorporated into the programme. Clients may benefit from between one and six sessions depending on severity at their assessment.

Shelley Manor Dental’s patients can sign up to these sessions at a reduced cost, if purchased as a package.

For further information call 01202 443882.

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