For those with a fear of the dentist, a dental reminder card can feel like a death sentence. Dental phobia is surprisingly common, and has a variety of causes, but there are also plenty of strategies to help you overcome your fear. After all, your dentist really just wants to help you have healthy teeth, so getting over your fear will improve the experience for both of you and improve your dental hygiene for the long term, since many people avoid going to the dentist due to fear.
Get to know your dentist
If you haven't met your dentist before you see them in the context of an appointment, they can come off as very intimidating. If you set up a time, or ask when you make the appointment to briefly sit down and talk to your dentist, it makes it less frightening in the room.
Part of your dental experience is in the chair, but part of it comes beforehand. If you have a fear of the dentist, thinking about your appointment and dreading it all morning can add to the anxiety. Getting in the right mentality before you even get to your appointment can really improve your experience. Get as relaxed as you can in the morning – meditate, listen to music, and don't psych yourself up by focusing too much on your appointment. If being at home leaves you too much time to think, go out and go shopping, see a movie, or do something else to distract yourself that you enjoy.
Continue distracting yourself during the appointment
Your dentist doesn't want to try to make awkward conversation with someone who can't reply any more than you do, so save yourself and them the trouble by coming up with your own distractions. Bring headphones and listen to music or a podcast instead of thinking about the dental tools in your mouth. Especially if you close your eyes, doing this can take you out of the moment and quell your fear. If you feel rude tuning out your dentist entirely, you can try some less intense strategies just in your mind, like doing math problems or coming up with a short story. It still distracts you without pulling you completely out of their appointment.
When you meet your dentist, be clear with them about your fears. Dental phobia is a very widespread issue – dentists are accustomed to having scared patients, so explaining your fears to them helps both of you out. If your dentist is not receptive to your fears, it may be time to find a new dentist who is willing to work with you. There are many dentists who will discuss fears and try to work around them, so making sure you are a good fit with your dentist can help you overcome some trepidation, knowing they are your ally.
Investigate the cause
Most people know that their fear of the dentist is pretty irrational. For some it's a simple fear of pain, which can be hard to combat, but for others the fear is rooted in childhood or in other anxieties. Many parents pass along a fear of the dentist to their children, while other people had a bad experience with one dentist when they were young and so were turned off to the idea. Figuring out why you are scared of the dentist can help you work against the fear, and can also help you communicate your fears to your current dentist.
Nobody really loves going to the dentist, but it is a necessary part of life, and eliminating fear can improve your experience some. Taking on your dental phobia can make your life easier and make you less reluctant to go to the dentist. For more information, talk to a professional like Bewick Keary DDS.Share