Does the idea of visiting the dentist make your palms sweat? Do You get that awful queasy feeling as soon as someone mentions the very name of your local dental clinic? If so, you’re not alone. Dental anxiety or dental fear, call it what you will, is very real and affects around 36% of the population so if you want to know how to get over your fear of the dentist, sit back, try to relax – remember, deep breaths, and read on.
There are many reasons people suffer from dental anxiety – some of the most common ones include:
- A worry the dentist will cause you pain
- An innate fear of injections or needles
- The nervousness of having someone work in your mouth
- The embarrassment of your teeth and the lack of care.
The trouble is that unlike other anxieties or phobias, dental visits can’t (or shouldn’t) be avoided. So what do you do if you need treatment and don’t want to turn and run for the hills the moment you set foot through the clinic door?
Here are 5 top tips on how to get over your fear of the dentist!
Tip 1 – Find a dentist who specifically caters for patients with dental fear?
It’s true! Dental anxiety is such a huge concern that many dentists will take steps to help alleviate it. Comfortable settings, caring staff, dentists who take the time to explain treatments and deploy distraction techniques like TV music and even light sedation, can all play their part in helping you overcome your dental fear.
Tip 2 – Give yourself plenty of time
So, your dental appointment is fast looming and dental anxiety is starting to kick in. Give yourself time to relax before you need to leave. If you need to take the day off work, do so. This way you have time to take a walk in the park, do some yoga or meditation, spend quality time with your dog, bake a cake. Do whatever it takes to kick back and take your mind off your dental visit for a while.
As a top tip – Arrive on time, but not too early. This way when you are sitting in the reception area, you won’t have too much time to dwell on stuff.
Tip 3 – Make use of relaxation techniques
You don’t need to be a Grand Master at Tai Chi to harness the power of relaxation. Simple deep breathing, meditation, guided imagery and body scanning techniques are all top tips to help you relax. Easy to incorporate into your daily life, they can help you to control your dental anxiety.
Tip 4 – Be upfront with your dentist
Contrary to popular belief, dentists don’t have two heads and eat children for breakfast.
On the contrary, most dentists are approachable and want to help, so be upfront and honest with them about your dental fear.
If they know, they are likely to have a selection of techniques that can help you through your treatment.
Tip 5 – Visit the dentist regularly
Okay, so this sounds like a self-perpetuating nightmare but if you think about it, the more often you visit the dentist, the less treatment you will need. The less treatment you need, the quicker, and more comfortable you will be when you do have to spend time in the dental chair – Simples!
So there you have it, how to get over your fear of the dentist with 5 top tips. While this is not an exhaustive list, it does give you some valuable pointers on how you can overcome dental fear long enough to get the treatment you need.
NCBI – Why Are People Afraid Of The Dentist – Observations and Explanations
Harvard Health EDU – Six Relaxation Techniques To Reduce Stress