What to do if you’re afraid of going to the dentist

Dr. Diesburg and his caring, professional staff in McMinnville are trained to help make your experience of dentistry as comfortable as possible. We recognize that fear of the dentist is a very real thing, so real that it keeps many people from maintaining regular cleanings or getting check-ups or even getting necessary treatment for teeth that are in pain.

It is estimated that 75% of people suffer from fear of the dentist or going to the dentist, also called dental phobia. Psychologists often use the term “phobia” to refer to an irrational fear, but we at our clinic believe strongly that the atmosphere should help assuage any fears our patients may have and that there are very real reasons our patients might be afraid of coming to the dentist.

Why are people afraid of the dentist?

Much has contributed to the pervasive image of the dentist’s office being a fearful place. These are common factors that lead to severe forms of dental phobia:

1. Personal experience. If you have had a painful or traumatic experience at a previous dentist, it makes sense that you would anticipate going to the dentist with anxiety.

2. Mass media. The portrayal of dentists in mass media and cartoons often contributes to a feelings of fear.

3. Similar settings. If you have a strong emotional response to any clinical setting because of a previous experience, you may experience fear of the dentist simply because of the way a dentist’s office smells or feels

4. Family history. Often, if your parent is afraid of the dentist, that fear can be communicated to the child

5. Helplessness and Lack of Control. Feeling like you are not in control of the situation while you are in the dental chair may heighten your fear of the dentist.

Dr. Diesburg and his staff are committed to helping you feel good about your experience with us. Here are some things you can expect from us when you visit for your cleaning, exam, filling, or routine dental surgery.


We strive to be on time.
Sitting around in the dentist’s office gives you more time to worry about what might happen in the chair, even if you’re just getting a cleaning. We strive to be on time and limit your wait, and we have a comfortable waiting room with what we’re convinced is the best magazine section in town. Come and relax, enjoy the calming music. If we are running late, we will call you and let you know you can come later because your time and schedule is important to us.

Our office is set up for you.
Our building was built specifically to serve the needs of its dental patient, with wide, comfortable dental treatment rooms, bright spaces and full-length windows looking into nature outside. Every decision we make in designing the space is intended with your comfort in mind.

You have choices.
Dr. Diesburg is trained to diagnose and treat your mouth, but he will never force treatment on patients. Often, if you need major work, he will give you a number of options and a reasonable time schedule upon which those options can be carried out. You, the patient, choose what is best for you, your budget and your comfort level.

You are in the hands of a great listener.
Dr. Diesburg and his hygienists Angela and Nick are great listeners. They want to know you and they really want to know about your fears. If you have any troubles at all, tell us about it. We also constantly watch for signs of comfort and may ask you how you are doing as you go through cleanings and procedures.

We are paying attention.
If you experience pain at all, mild or otherwise, lift your hand and give us the stop sign. We treat patients, not teeth.

We are committed to you for the long haul.
We believe in making patients for life. We believe in helping our patients achieve their maximum optimum health. To do this, we believe in working WITH you on an individual level. If you need major treatment, we will support you through the process because we care, deeply, about the outcome.

We are communicators.
Some patients find a good storyteller or talker is a good distraction from the procedures being performed. If you are that patient, we can be that storyteller, or even singer. Dr. Diesburg is skilled at assuaging fears with a gentle demeanor, a listening ear and a gift for the right kind of gab. And we won’t do that annoying thing where we ask you a lot of questions and make you talk while we have tools in your mouth.

You know yourself, and we are striving every day to know you. If there is any way we can help make your experience in our hands as comfortable as possible, let us know.

Are you ready to pursue dental health? Call Dr. Diesburg today at 503-472-2222.

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