Fear of the Dentist
Is it time to see your dentist?
Do you feel like missing out on your dental appointment again?
Going to the dentist can sometimes trigger anxiety. Some patients even avoid going to the dentist. If you feel afraid seeing your dentist, then, you are not alone.
A lot of people experience dental fear, anxiety or phobia. They feel reluctant to see a dentist because of past experiences, low threshold of pain, embarrassment or feeling of being trapped.
While dental fear, anxiety or phobia are similar to the extent of being hesitant to see the dentist, there is a fine line differentiating them.
Dental fear is based on past experience that triggers a reaction to a known danger. Dental anxiety, on the other hand, is a fear of the unknown. A person coming to see the dentist for the first time is most likely to feel dental anxiety. Anxiety may be triggered by a news article or story that he may have read or heard.
Dental phobia is a more intense feeling of fear. For a few, it may even go to the extent of a panic-stricken state resulting in avoidance of dental visits or dental treatments.
Whether it is a dental fear, anxiety, or phobia, the result will not just be poor oral health but may cause low self-esteem or even health problems.
Overcoming the Dental Fear
How do you overcome fear?
For most people, in order for them not to feel fear, they avoid what causes it. But for some, the way to overcome fear is to face the fear head-on.
The following are ways to overcome your fear of the dentist:
1. Know and accept your fear
- A good technique is to write down on a piece of paper your fears and the reasons as well. While this can help you understand your fear, it may also be an aide that your dentist may use to better deal with your fear.
2. Look for the right dentist
- For someone who has dental fear because of a past experience, it is best to look for a new dentist that may help you with your dental needs. Gather information regarding all dental offices in your area and read reviews or ask around for first-hand opinions. Then pick out the one that best fits your oral healthcare needs.
- TIP: When in the Charlotte and surrounding areas, visit any Friendly Dental Group Office for the best dental experience as we are known to be friendly and to reduce dental anxiety.
3. Determine ways to gradually reduce your fear
- As earlier mentioned, writing down your fears on a piece of paper is a good technique. It may also apply here, when you write down ways on how you can reduce your fear, you may have it discussed with your dentist on your next visit.
4. Communicate with your dentist
- Communication is the only way by which people can understand each other. Think of it this way, will your mom or dad give you money if you will not tell them why you need it? The same is true with your dental fear, your dentist will never know and understand unless you tell him about it.
5. Have someone accompany you during your dental visits
- They say that one is a misery and two’s a company. Let’s face it, sometimes we become more confident when we have someone beside us. Visiting the dentist is not an exception. It is better to visit the dentist when you have a friend or a loved one with you.
- Here’s a tip: Go to the dentist with someone who does not have any dental fear, anxiety or phobia!
6. Learn some relaxation techniques
- The best relaxation technique is deep breathing. Take one deep breath and let it out slowly. This will help you relax your muscles and your heartbeat.
7. Use distractions
- One of the great ways to distract oneself is by listening to music. Other ways include but are not limited to counting to yourself, use of stress balls, fidget spinners and other fiddling toys, or watching funny videos.
8. Take breaks during dental treatments
- You may ask your dentist to perform one treatment at a time. Some say that it is better to have a slow dental treatment than not to have any at all. It is not imperative to have all treatments in one visit. Slowly work your way to have the perfect set of teeth.
9. Take precautions to reduce discomfort
- Prior to your treatment, you may check if you will be comfortable on the chair. Or if you think there is a need for sedatives like nitrous oxide to be administered, discuss it with your dentist.
10. Take good care of your teeth
- The best way to overcome your fear of the dentist is to ensure that your teeth are well taken cared off. Preventive dental care should start as early as infancy. Make sure to brush your teeth 2-3 times a day, floss every after meal, and visit the dentist every 6 months for your regular dental exam and cleaning.
It takes two to tango! A dentist cannot take away your fear, anxiety or phobia by him or herself, you should, likewise, do your part as the patient.
Remember: Face Your Fears
Do you know that even the most fearful person can become the most courageous after facing his fears?
Nothing is impossible! With a little help, your dentist can make the world a better place one smile at a time. So take the time to overcome your fear, one visit to the dentist at a time.
Whether it a dental fear, anxiety or phobia, Friendly Dental Group will brush away your fears with your every visit. Call 1-866-764-5387 to schedule an appointment!