A certain extent of apprehension is normal before going to the dentist, or any doctor for that matter. But if your anxiety affects your oral health and prevents you from going to the dentist, you may be experiencing dental fear, anxiety, or phobia.
Current estimates reveal that between 5-8% of people avoid dentists out of fear. Meanwhile, 20% are anxious to the point that they will only seek dental treatment only when necessary.
Dental anxiety, fear, or phobia are usually triggered by certain events or experiences, and some of these are:
- Loss of control – Some patients feel like they’re losing control when they lie on a dental chair and find it overwhelming when a dentist hover above their heads and probe inside their mouths. They typically associate the feeling with helplessness or being trapped.
- Pain – Most people dread going to the dentist out of fear of pain, especially those who have a low pain threshold.
- Embarrassment – Some patients feel ashamed or embarrassed when dentists look inside their mouths and examine their gums and teeth. Discomfort can also result from the little distance between a patient and dentist during treatment.
- Past Experience – Most people develop dental fears due to bad experience in the past. If a previous treatment was painful or resulted to complications, a patient may develop trepidations about going to the dentist again.
Here are 10 Tips to Overcome Dental Fear or Phobia
1. Tell the dentist about your fears. This information will help the dentist determine how to best manage and address those fears. By letting the dentist know exactly why the experience is difficult for you, you will feel more control in the examination chair.
2. Remember that dental procedures have greatly improved in the past few years. Modern dentistry offers new methods and treatment options to make you feel comfortable.
3. Your dentist can explain the entire procedure to you beforehand, as well as walk you through step-by-step while the procedure is being performed. You always have the right to fully understand the work being done on your teeth.
4. Consider additional medication to relax. Many dentists recommend nitrous oxide, sedation or anti-anxiety medicine for extremely nervous patients. Find a dentist who offers these options to help you get through the visit.
5. Find a dentist you are comfortable with and establish a trusting relationship. There are many personalities in the dental profession. Find a dentist who makes you feel at ease and is willing to work with you on your fears.
6. Breathe deeply and try to relax. Some dentists recommend practicing relaxation techniques before and during the appointment. Other dentists find that listening to music, or scheduling an appointment first thing in the morning, before the stresses of the day add up, also help patients to relax.
7. Talk to the dentist about stopping if you’re uncomfortable. Many of the dentists surveyed said they establish a signal to “stop” with their patients. This puts you in control of the procedure and alerts the dentist if you’re uncomfortable or need to take a break during the appointment.
8. Visit the dentist regularly to prevent problems. For fearful patients, just going for a check up can be nerve-wracking, but the more you go to the dentist for routine cleanings, the more likely you are to avoid larger problems that result in extensive procedures.
9. Visit the office and talk to the staff before your first appointment. You should feel free to meet with the dentist and to ask questions before scheduling your appointment. Meeting the dentist and his or her staff first will help you find a dentist you like and trust.
10. Go slow. Dentists are happy to go slow with nervous patients. If possible, make sure your first visit is a simple one, such as a cleaning. This will help you build your relationship with the dentist before going in for a more difficult procedure.
Keep in Mind
Dental treatments are way more advanced now as compared to a few years back. In fact, there are ways to do things with as minimal pain as possible—from the administration of anesthesia to surgery. More so, dentists recognize that people have apprehensions about going to them, so they continue to strive in providing a comfortable and reassuring atmosphere for patients.
A dental visit is not as dreadful as you think, because its goal is to keep your oral health in check. If you’re trying to overcome your anxiety or fear, keep the ten tips discussed to make your appointment as comfortable as possible.
If you are suffering from Dental Phobia, or have extreme fear and anxiety of going to the Dentist, Call Vogue Smiles Melbourne 9629-7664 and we can help. We are gentle and have experienced treating Dental Phobics