Time to see your dentist? Do you feel like rescheduling your dental appointment yet again?
A lot of people experience dental fear, anxiety or phobia. They feel reluctant to visit a dentist because of negative past experiences, low threshold of pain, embarrassment or the feeling of being trapped. Going to the dental office can sometimes trigger anxiety, therefore resulting in some patients avoiding the dental office altogether. If you feel afraid to see a dentist, then you may not be alone.
There is a fine line differentiating dental fear, anxiety or phobia. Dental fear is based on past experience that triggers a reaction to a known danger also known as a flight or fight response. 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 a person’s past experience that was traumatic to them. Lastly, 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 pertinent dental treatment.
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
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 it head-on.
The following are ways to overcome your fear of the dentist:
1. Accept your fear
A good technique is to take a piece of paper and list your fears along with the reasons the fear exists. While this can help you understand your fear, it may also be an aide that your dentist may use to better understand you.
2. Look for the right dentist
For someone who has dental fear, it may be best to look for a new dentist who may be able to better meet your overall needs. Gather information regarding all dental offices in your area and read reviews or ask around for first-hand opinions.
3. Determine ways to gradually reduce 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. The same is true with your dental fear, your dentist will never know and understand unless you tell them about it.
5. Have someone accompany you during your dental visits
Let’s face it, sometimes we have more confidence when we have the comfort of someone beside us. Visiting a dentist is not an exception and it may be beneficial to visit the dentist along with a friend or loved one.
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 slow down your heart rate.
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 dental treatment done slowly than not to have any at all. It is not imperative to have all treatment in one visit as you can slowly work your way in having the perfect set of teeth.
9. Take precautions to reduce discomfort
Prior to your treatment, you may check to see if you will be comfortable in the dental chair. Additionally, if you think there is a need for sedatives like nitrous oxide, 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 care of. Preventive dental care should start as early as infancy. Make sure to brush your teeth 2-3 times a day, floss after every meal and visit the dentist every 6 months for your regular dental exam and cleaning.
Remember: Face Your Fears
Do you know that even the most fearful person can become the most courageous after facing their 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 at a time.
We are committed to providing our patients top-class dental service at an affordable price.
Whether it’s a dental fear, anxiety or phobia, Smile Care Dental Center will brush away your fears with every visit. Call 604-744-2262 to schedule an appointment.