School Opens Comfort Center to Help People who Fear the Dentist

In an effort to assist those patients who are anxious or fearful in the dental setting, the UNC School of Dentistry has opened a first-of-its-kind in the state Comfort Center. The center is currently accepting self-referral appointments as well as referrals from dental professionals.

“We understand that there are people who are quite frightened of the dentist and, unfortunately, that fear keeps them from going to get their regular cleanings – and in some cases, identifying larger dental issues before they become painful,” said Dr. Jim Beck, executive associate dean for the school. “We hope that the Comfort Center will be a place where people can work through those fears and be comfortable during dental treatment.”

The Comfort Center is an interdisciplinary center that will help patients alleviate their fears of the dentist and the dental setting. Treatment methods by Comfort Center practitioners are identified on a case-by-case basis but may include mindfulness, relaxation and clinical hypnosis.

“By helping people cope with or eliminate their fear of the dentist, we’re able to make sure that they get the oral care they need. And, in best case scenarios, the cycle of fear of the dentist stops with them, allowing their children and family to receive oral care as well,” said Beck.

The Comfort Center is part of the Dental Faculty Practice (DFP) at the UNC School of Dentistry. To make an appointment, patients should call (919) 537-3939.