How To Ease Your Fear Of Visiting Your Local Dentist

Fear of the dentist

There are a lot of reasons why you should allocate time to regularly visit your local dentist. These appointments enable you to detect oral cancer and prevent plaque, tartar, and cavity build up. Visiting your local dentist makes it easy for you to avoid gum diseases and keep bad habits in check. The more often you see your dentist, the healthier your mouth will be.

Although beneficial and necessary, not everyone is a fan of visiting their local dentists. More often than not, people experience dental anxiety or phobia whenever they think about visiting their dentists. People who suffer from this type of mental health disorder usually experience severe sweating, racing heartbeat, palpitations, and even fainting whenever they’re in a dentist’s clinic. In worse cases, patients will purposely miss their dental appointments and find it very challenging to undergo any dental treatments regardless of how simple or painless it is.

If all of these symptoms prevent you from seeing your dentist and take care of your dental health, don’t fret because there are simple strategies that can help you out. Regularly implementing the following tips will eventually ease your fear of visiting your local dentist:

1.       Recognize Your Fears

It’ll be challenging for you to address a problem if you don’t recognize that there’s a problem in the first place. How can you possibly look for solutions if you don’t know what you’re battling against? How can you start with your efforts if you don’t have any idea what the problem is?

For you to ease your fear of visiting your local dentist, start by recognizing your fears and admit that you’re truly scared of the idea of seating on a dentist’s chair. This is a very critical step in the process because being mindful of your anxieties and phobias will make it easy for you to address your fears.

Depending on your preference, you can achieve this goal by listing the reasons why you’re scared of visiting your dentist. This list can usually include your fear of pain, injections, or aesthetic side effects. In some cases, you might also be scared of visiting your local dentist because you feel helpless or embarrassed whenever you’re seated in front of them.

There are no right or wrong answers when recognizing your fears – if you think that something or someone makes you feel uncomfortable when visiting your dentist, write them down on your list.

Listing all of your dental-related fears will not only help you identify the reasons that are stopping you from taking care of your mouth, but these items can also help your dentist ease your fears. When you know the reasons why you’re suffering from dental anxiety or phobia in the first place, it’ll be easy for you to relay all of these concerns to the dentist and let them provide solutions that can help you manage all of these fears.

2.       Find The Right Dentist

Working with a dentist is vital for your overall health and wellness, but this doesn’t mean that you should work with any dentist just for the sake of it. On the contrary, you should exert time and effort in choosing a local dentist as they play a significant role in easing your dental anxiety or phobia. It’ll be very easy for you to ease your dental anxiety or phobia if you end up working with a dentist who always offers comforting words.

If you want to put your mind at ease whenever you sit on the dentist’s chair, look for someone who educates you on the procedures and treatments to be done. In this way, you won’t be clueless about what’s happening inside your mouth, and you can easily determine if what you’re experiencing are normal side effects. This information will keep your anxiety at bay and make you feel confident about the procedures being done to your mouth.

Aside from the comforting personality of a dentist, you should look for someone who possesses the following attributes:

Offers convenience

For you to improve and maintain your oral health, you should regularly visit your dentist. Depending on your needs, you might have to see a dentist twice every month or once a week.

Aside from making sure that the dentist has a clinic that’s convenient to your location, it’s also important to assess the convenience of their schedule and how it fits with yours. You’ll be discouraged from regularly visiting your local dentist if their schedule doesn’t match your own. If you often experience dental anxiety or phobia, you’ll be worried about not showing up to your appointment on time, which can eventually become the reason why you’ll lose the interest to see them moving forward.

Has the necessary education and experience

One of the most obvious reasons why people fear going to the dentist is because they don’t like to experience pain. They think that whenever they work with a dentist, they’ll immediately feel pain in their mouth, which can hinder them from being productive days after their appointment.

If you have the same sentiments, take the time to assess the education and experience of your local dentist. For starters, ensure that the dentist has the necessary education, training, and experience for the job.

If you already know the type of dental procedures or treatments you’ll need, ask the dentist about their experience in handling similar cases. It’ll be easy for them to reduce the pain associated with a specific procedure or treatment if they’ve worked with patients like you in the past.

Provides reviews from previous patients

Dentists run a business, which is why they would exert their resources to haul in patients. They need to earn profits to ensure that their clinics continue to operate for the longest time possible. This is one of the most obvious reasons why a dentist commissions marketing ads and uses words that’ll convince you to pay for their services.

To help you narrow down your options and end up with a dentist that meets your expectations, don’t forget to ask the dentist for reviews from their previous patients. A dentist who provides high-quality dental services will be confident in providing you with the names and contact numbers of some of their patients.

When you have this information, reach out to some and inquire about their experience with the dentist. Were the patients pacified when they told the dentist about their dental anxiety and phobia? Did the dentist get out of their way to ensure that these previous patients were at ease throughout their treatments?

The experience of the previous patients can help you narrow down your options so you can choose a dentist who understands your anxiety.

3.       Look For Ways To Gradually Reduce Your Fears

A dentist can only do so much in easing your dental fear. For their recommendations to work as expected, you also have to work hard to address the problem. In fact, you should never solely rely on other people to ease your dental anxiety because regardless of how they help, if you’re not committed to treating the problem yourself, all of their efforts will be useless. This situation will lead you to experience the unending cycle of fearing your local dentist.

You can prevent this problem from happening by looking for ways to gradually reduce your fear. In order for this method to work, you have to be consistent with your efforts since results don’t come overnight. The longer you practice these methods, the sooner you can experience its results. You’ll also have to use several strategies at the same time if your dental anxiety is chronic or has worsened through the years.

Listed below are two of the most common self-help tips that can ease your fear of visiting your local dentist:

Distract yourself

You can easily feel pain whenever you’re seated in a dental chair if you’re solely focused on the treatments and procedures being done. Since you’re not doing anything else, your mind will unknowingly pay attention to what the dentist is doing with your mouth and how sensitive your mouth is to the equipment being used.

For you to take off your mind from the pain, distract yourself during any dental procedures or treatment. You can occupy your hands by squeezing a stress ball or playing with any handheld object, such as your mobile phone or fidget spinner. This way, your mind will not be focused on what the dentist is doing. Instead, you’ll be thinking about the movement of your hands. This technique will keep your mind off of the pain so you can easily survive any dental treatment or procedure with ease.

Use mindfulness techniques

Relaxation begins in the mind. When practiced properly, it can be a very effective way of easing your anxiety about visiting your local dentist. To do this, simply count your breaths in order to remove the tension from your muscles. Inhale slowly as you’re counting in your mind and exhale for the same number of counts.

You can practice this method when you’re waiting for your appointment in the dentist’s clinic, or during breaks when you’re already seated in the dental chair. Strive to focus on your breathing and move your mind away from the things that are happening around you.

4.       Bring A Companion During Your Dental Appointments

Being in a new environment with new individuals can breed stress and, when not treated promptly, become the reason for your anxiety and phobia. Your unfamiliarity to a new environment will lead you to question your unpreparedness to handle the situation.

How will the dentist handle your treatment for the day? What should you expect from the treatment? How soon can you get back on track after the treatment? The list of questions can go on and on as you’re waiting for your dental appointment. The next thing you know, you’re already terrified to see your local dentist.

One of the easiest ways for you to steer away from this direction is to have someone accompany you during your dental appointments. Bringing a friend or family member with you can provide assurance and support, making it easy for you to get through your appointments. If you feel nervous about your procedure and how the dentist will facilitate one, you can talk to your companion about it and ask for pieces of advice.

Talk therapy is actually a great process for you to ease your fear of visiting your local dentist as this requires you to open up about the things that bother you, and with a help of a friend or family member, you can clarify these fears and put them in perspective. You’ll feel so much better once you air out your fears to another person.

If you’re leaning towards this direction, make sure that you go with someone who doesn’t have any fears of going to the dentist. Their courage and positivity can influence you, so you’ll have a better mindset about going to your own local dentist. 

5.       Inquire If Sedatives Are Appropriate For Your Case

In its simplest sense, sedatives are substances that induce sedation by reducing excitement or irritability. Often called as tranquilizers, these also act as antidepressants that can interact with the activities in your brain and make it less sensitive to stress. If you want to ease your fear of visiting your dentist in the easiest and fastest way possible, inquire from your dentist if you can use sedatives.

When administered properly, sedatives can help a patient stay relaxed and calm during dental procedures. If your dentist approves your plans in using sedatives, make sure to inquire about the right brand and dosage. Taking sedatives in excessive amounts can also result in side effects and health risks, so you should always be wary.

Ask Pros For Help

If you have tried all of the tips presented in this article and none worked, it might be best to consult a professional. Undergoing behavioral therapies and taking medications under the supervision of a professional might provide better results than easing all of the symptoms of dental anxiety on your own.

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