Fear of the dentist is one of the most common fears in modern times, but you do not have to live with dental anxiety. Here are simple steps to overcome.
An estimated 15% of Americans experience dental anxiety. This can be a crippling fear, preventing the sufferer from accessing crucial oral health care.
If you or a loved one have a fear of the dentist, you may be wondering how best to support them. Read on for 5 simple tips to overcome dental anxiety.
1. Identify Your Fear
Some fears or phobias can be all-consuming. If your dental anxiety is severe, you may not even be able to talk about oral health without feeling triggered.
Getting to the root of the fear (no pun intended) will help you to address it.
You may be able to pinpoint already when the fear started. Otherwise, a therapist may help you to understand exactly what is causing your anxiety. Once you understand the origin of your dental anxiety, it will be much easier to manage it.
2. Talk To Your Dentist
Your dentist will be well aware that they have entered one of the most feared professions. You won’t be their first patient with dental anxiety or phobia, and they will know how to manage this.
Choose a dentist with a good reputation and let them know prior to the appointment about your fears. A good dentist will be able to reassure you.
For many, their dental anxiety is reduced when the dentist talks to them about the process. If you know what to expect, the element of uncertainty is eliminated. In nearly all cases, the fear is far worse than the experience itself.
3. Distract Yourself from Dental Anxiety
As mentioned, the thought of a dental procedure is usually far worse than the experience itself. Although anxiety can be felt physically, it is a mental process which can be overcome.
If you can distract your mind during your appointment, it will be over before you know it! Many dental clinics have a TV in the room, so you can ask for it to be positioned for your viewing.
Otherwise, it may be that your anxiety is triggered by the sound of the dentist’s drill. Try listening to some relaxing music through headphones (providing your dentist approves this). If you’re into meditation, you may find that this is a useful tool whilst at the clinic too.
4. Discuss Pain Management
Everyone has a different pain threshold, and your dentist should be aware of this. You’re within your rights to ask for a numbing agent prior to any procedures or injections.
This is usually a gel applied prior to any oral injections, so you won’t even feel the local anesthetic being administered. Your dentist will want you to be as comfortable and relaxed as possible, so this should not be an issue.
5. Don’t Be Ashamed
If you have been avoiding the dentist for some time, you may be embarassed about your oral health. Perhaps you have some decay which you’ve allowed to worsen, or maybe you’re overdue a good clean.
Either way, your mouth will not be the worst the dentist has seen! Remember that these skilled professionals have seen hundreds of different oral conditions. Although it may be embarrassing for you, it’s just another day at the office for them!
Don’t let shame keep you from having the healthy smile that you deserve.
The Bottom Line
Dental anxiety is a common condition but it can be overcome. Follow these tips to identify and manage your fears. Talk to your dental professional take a step towards your winning smile!
If you have any other tips for overcoming dental anxiety, let us know in the comments.