Dental Digest- Afraid Of The Dentist? There Are Options

Fear of going to the dentist is very common. Whether it’s due to a bad childhood experience or some other reason, modern dentistry has many options to offer.

At Morris County Dental Associates, LLC, it’s not uncommon for a fearful patient to have been referred by a friend, co-worker, or family member. Believe it or not, this initial expression of trust goes a long way to combat anxiety. The second step people tell us that has helped them is our outstanding staff, primarily the first person they speak to on the phone once they call to make that initial appointment. When they hang up the phone, they’ve had a pleasant interaction which they feel good about.

Trust is a large component in the process of alleviating fear. We usually like to see apprehensive patients for a “meet & greet” before any treatment is scheduled. We also try to make the first visit “treatment free,” meaning we perform exams and films before cleanings or other procedures. Of course this isn’t always possible if the patient is in pain, but when a person gets to meet the doctor and staff face-to-face before dental care is delivered, anxiety levels are again reduced due to an increase in trust.

As a dentist, I enjoy watching the relationship with fearful patients grow. As the appointments progress, fear almost always decreases. Patients look forward to their visits with my staff and myself, they are smiling and joking with us, and we always hear, “If I knew it was going to be like this, I would have started coming here a long time ago.”

Different levels of stress-reduction are possible, too. We perform all of them in our practice:

Laughing Gas / Nitrous Oxide / Sweet Air: Many people are familiar with this. A mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen are delivered through a nosepiece, which helps to reduce anxiety. Once the procedures are completed, the gas is turned off, and you return to normal. You are able to drive yourself to and from the office, and there are no restrictions on eating.

Oral Sedation: This is a service the dentist receives advanced training for, and is issued a permit by the State of NJ. The patient ingests pills orally starting the night before, and treatment is usually scheduled in the morning. Patients become very relaxed. A level of amnesia is also achieved, where they don’t remember much of the procedure. Patients must have an escort to and from the office, and cannot eat after midnight the evening before their treatment.

IV Sedation: With this option an anesthesiologist delivers medication intravenously to take you to a deeper level of sedation, and monitors you through the entire procedure. Full amnesia is usually achieved. You are breathing completely on your own: machines are not required to aid you. Again, patients must have an escort and cannot eat the evening before.
If you are one of the many Americans who fear visiting the dentist, give us a call and tell us about your concerns. Compassion is key to helping our patients, and is part of our mantra: “Experience, Compassion, & Quality.” We’re convinced you’ll be glad you picked up the phone.


Dr. Ira Goldberg is a general dentist located in the Roxbury Mall in Succasunna. He provides general dental services for the entire family, including: cleanings, check-ups, whitening, veneers, crowns, root canals, periodontal (gum) services, and dental implants. He holds many degrees and is recognized as an expert in dental implants. Please visit his website at for additional information. He can be reached at (973) 328-1225 and at
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