Overcoming a Fear of the Dentist
First of all, it’s perfectly normal to have some concerns, anxiety and fear of the dentist. It’s natural to worry about experiencing discomfort or pain, finding out you have a problem with your teeth or gums, or simply having someone poke around inside your mouth.
But if you let your fear of the dentist stop you from making regular visits, it could negatively affect your oral and overall health.
How to Get Over Your Fears
It makes sense to take steps to overcome your fears, make it easier to go for regular check-ups and keep your teeth and gums healthy and happy.
Here are just a few ways to help you do just that.
1. Get to Know Your Fears
The first step in getting over your fear of the dentist is to identify exactly what they are. Many people think they just worry about pain and discomfort.
But your fears and concerns might also come from the sound of the drill or a fear of needles. It’s common to be embarrassed about someone looking inside your mouth and examining your teeth and gums. Other patients feel a loss of control when they are in the dental chair with a dentist and assistant hovering over them.
Think about all the things that cause your concerns and write them down. That way, you know exactly what fears you need to conquer.
2. Talk to Your Dentist
It might not seem like it when you’re in the chair, but your dentist understands that you may have a fear of being there and he or she wants to make your experience as pleasant as possible. Don’t hesitate to talk to your dentist about each specific fear and concern you have. Both of you will be very glad you did.
3. Bring a Friend
Being alone during visits to the dentist can heighten your fears. Having a friend or family member, especially one who doesn’t share your fear of the dentist, can help take your mind off your concerns and give you the reassurances you need to reduce your apprehensions.
4. Try Some Relaxation Techniques
Your fears and anxieties can make you tense and nervous. One of the best ways to relax before and during a visit is with deep breathing exercises. Practice taking deep breaths and exhaling slowly.
Not only will the deep-breathing exercise help you relax and be more calm, but by focusing on your breathing, you take your mind off your fears.
5. Find Other Distractions
Many dentists have video screens in treatment rooms or have music playing. Some patients use their own distractions like squeezing a stress ball, or thinking about all their favourite travel experiences.
6. Ask for Sedation Dentistry
Sometimes, no matter what you do, your fears and anxieties around visiting to the dentist are too difficult to overcome. Again, instead of avoiding those visits and threatening your health, let your dentist know about it. He or she can offer sedation dentistry, which lets you stay calm and stress-free by making sure you feel no pain.
7. Find the Right Dentist
There’s nothing wrong with ‘shopping around’ to find a dental clinic where you feel most comfortable. Don’t be afraid to call and/or visit different clinics, ask to meet the dentists, get a sense of their levels of concern about your comfort, feel the atmosphere of the clinic and simply try to reassure yourself that everything is being done to reduce your anxiety and fear of the dentist.
At myDentalcare here in Lindsay, Ontario, we understand that your dental visits can be a source of fear. Our office is designed to create a soothing, comfortable environment and all our dentists and staff are ready to do everything we can to make your visit as comfortable as possible. Please call or visit us to see for yourself.