Dental Anxiety: A Message from Dr. Kelly O’Hara

A Message from Dr. Kelly O’Hara to
Patients with Dental Anxiety or Phobia

Dear Patients,

Dental anxiety or dental phobia affects nearly one in five adults. I have family members who have dental anxiety, and I see it every day in our dental practice. If there’s one thing I want to tell all anxious patients, it’s that you are not alone. Please do not feel embarrassed with us. Like myself, the other dentists in Lincoln, NE, at our practice are compassionate, empathetic and are committed to taking care of anxious patients.

Image of our compassionate family dentist, Dr. Kelly O'Hara visiting with a patient about dental anxiety and dental phobia.

Patients with dental anxiety are often so fearful that they delay dental treatment for years. Their oral hygiene suffers as a result, leading to gum disease, tooth infection, and abscesses, or cavities. Through research, we now know that untreated inflammation in the mouth spreads throughout the body. Inflammation leaves patients more susceptible to several health issues. These include heart disease, uncontrolled diabetes, kidney disease, and low birth-weight babies in pregnant patients, among other things. It is important to address your oral and overall health by seeing a dentist regularly.

Sometimes anxious patients are embarrassed by their anxiety or have been told things in the past like “don’t worry,” “stay calm,” or “you will be just fine.” This causes patients to feel even more embarrassed about their condition. Instead, seek out a dentist in Lincoln, NE who listens to your concerns and offers a variety of options to help you manage your concerns.

Image of our compassionate family dentist, Dr. Kelly O'Hara visiting with a patient about dental anxiety and dental phobia.

Anxiety Triggers

Negative past experiences with dental offices often trigger anxiety in patients. Triggers can be simple, like the sounds and smell inside a dental office, or from other things like getting numb, having a strong gag reflex, fearing instruments in the mouth, or fearing a general lack of control.  Some patients aren’t sure what causes their anxiety. Others have a combination of things that trigger their fears. While things such as nitrous gas can be helpful, it’s important to know that not everyone is a great candidate. So, there are additional things we can do to ensure your comfort. Below are some of the things that Lincoln Family Dentistry offers to help manage your worries.

Image of a young man who is happy he found sedation dentistry and a sedation dentist in Lincoln, NE at Lincoln Family Dentistry.

Minimally-Invasive Instruments

If you fear having dental instruments placed in your mouth, sometimes your gag reflex will react. Sometimes this can make it difficult to breathe. At our office, we use a device called an Isolite® that protects your tongue to prevent and control your gag reflex.

Image of four female dentists in Lincoln, NE from Nebraska Family Dentistry.

Caring Dental Team

If you have past experiences with unsympathetic dentists, you may fear they will ignore your concerns. I am a mother of 4, and I was a high school teacher before becoming a “Lincoln dentist near me.” I’ve carried my passion for teaching into dentistry. I will explain everything we do beforehand in an approachable way. I find that many patients understand visuals well, so I prefer to use an iPad with pictures to explain treatment.

Like students, patients with concerns often need a non-traditional approach or extra time to complete treatment. Find a dentist in Lincoln, NE, who hears to your concerns and who helps you manage them, and you can overcome your anxiety.

Image of our compassionate family dentist, Dr. Kelly O'Hara visiting with a patient about dental anxiety and dental phobia.

Intuitive Numbing Techniques

Many anxious patients worry about getting numb for a procedure. I use a topical anesthetic to comfort the area first, before administering anesthesia slowly and comfortably. We also have excellent distraction techniques, like massaging another area of your mouth while we administer anesthesia to minimize the pressure.

Image of a happy woman who found that our dentists in Lincoln, NE at Lincoln Family Dentistry offer a relaxed, comfortable environment and judgement free dentistry.

Comforting Environment and Patient Choices

Many patients say that being in a comfortable atmosphere surrounded by the caring people in our office makes them more at ease than they have felt with prior dental treatment.  We offer a blanket and pillow, headphones and television. We also offer several breaks to help you feel comfortable. Ultimately, we want you to be in control of your dental treatment. We want to ensure your comfort while you are in our office.  From the moment you walk into our office and meet our friendly patient scheduling coordinators to the moment you leave with a care package and post-care instructions, we’ll take good care of you. So whether you’re looking for toothache relief, need a dental cleaning, or are looking for a complete smile makeover, your comfort is our number one priority!

Image of a woman laying in a dental chair who had sedation dentistry from a dentist in Lincoln, NE at Lincoln Family Dentistry.

Sleep Dentistry

Some patients still find they need extra help feeling comfortable the day of treatment and those patients elect to do oral sedation dentistry or sleep dentistry. This is an excellent option for most anxious patients. Learn more about sleep dentistry at Lincoln Family Dentistry.

Thank you for taking the time to read about our passion for treating anxious patients. Again, please do not feel embarrassed or uncomfortable discussing your dental anxiety with us. We value having the discussion and finding ways to help you work through your concerns. After all, it’s most satisfying to see a patient gradually overcome their anxiety, only to soon become empowered and confident with a healthy mouth!

Kelly O’Hara, DDS

Image of our gentle dentist in Lincoln, NE, Dr. Kelly O'Hara.

The information on this page was written by Dr. Kelly O’Hara.

This gentle Lincoln, NE dentists says: “I perform gentle dentistry for the entire family and focus on children’s dentistry, extreme smile makeovers, cosmetic dentistry and placing mercury-free dental fillings. Moreover, I also want to provide a better quality of life to patients who have lost their teeth by making implant retained dentures. I have many goals, but one that is very important to many of us: to keep dentistry affordable by taking all of the primary dental plans and by also offering dental payment plans to patients that seek them. I am fully committed to making sure all patients feel comfortable while in my care.”

You can schedule with this dentist in Lincoln, NE, or her partners, online 24/7 at a Lincoln Family Dentistry Location near you. This “dentist near me” serves the local communities close to Lincoln. Some of the communities include Eagle, Walton, Weeping Water, Avoca, and many more!

Check out the “What is Sedation Dentistry” video.

LDP-state of nebraska approved

No Dental Insurance?
No Problem

Visit Lincoln Dental Plans

dental payment plans icon

Affordable Dental Care

Make easy, affordable payments for your procedure with dental payment plans we offer.

care credit

Healthcare Financing,
Made Easy

Visit Care Credit

sunbit for nfd pages

Schedule Day or Night

Schedule your dental appointment at anytime of the day or night with our online scheduling.

Schedule Online day or night logo from dentist in Lincoln NE near me Dr. Sullivan.

We have 7 locations in Lincoln, NE

locations logos

Lincoln Family Dentistry – Central Lincoln
South Lincoln Family Dentistry – South Lincoln
Northeast Lincoln Family Dentistry– Northeast Lincoln
Preserve Family Dentistry – East Lincoln
Coddington Dental – West Lincoln

NorthStar Dental – North Lincoln
SouthPointe Dental – Southwest Lincoln
Lincoln Dental Plans – Affordable Dental Options
Nebraska Family Dentistry

Nebraska Family Dentistry has Lincoln Dental clinics in all parts of Lincoln. Choose a “near me dentist” location that is convenient for you.