We all know how important oral health is, and yet many of us are afraid of the dentist. This common fear can stem from many things, from worries over your oral health to past bad experiences during your youth. But for some of us, a fear of the dentist, if left unchecked, can grow and lead us to start neglecting our oral health.
Rationally, we know that seeing a dentist is a good choice for our health, but when these fears start to get in the way but having regular check-ups and cleanings, we need to address them.
You may also find that the same fear which presents itself at the dentist can rear its head when you go to get dentures or implants fitted. This is one of the key reasons why all staff working at a clinic fitting and repairing dentures in Manchester, London and anywhere in between will always work to keep you comfortable, happy and calm.
You may have already heard advice like; ‘just do it’ or ‘don’t worry,’ but we all know that doesn’t help us. So, what can we actually do to ease our anxiety, tackle our fear of the dentist, and take our oral health back into her own hands?
Tackling a Mild Fear of the Dentist
In most cases, mild fears around seeing the dentist can quickly be fixed with a few trips to the dentist instead of avoiding it altogether. Once you’ve had a couple of successful trips your anxiety will start to ease and that fear of the dentist will fade. If you are afraid of the dentist and you need to have a procedure done, don’t be afraid to ask for general anaesthetic so that you’re not awake during the procedure.
This may however, not be possible or practical for all procedures but generally speaking a dentist will accommodate your sedation wishes and do everything they can to relax you. The most important thing is seeing your dentist to ensure a healthy mouth and to make sure you avoid the likes of gum disease or otherwise.
Overcoming a Deeper Fear of the Dentist
For anyone whose fear is becoming unmanageable or even a phobia, just going to the dentist might not feel possible. Severe feelings of this nature might be linked to an anxiety disorder which may require therapy or in extreme circumstances, even medication.
There are a few possible therapies that could help you overcome a severe fear of the dentist:
Exposure Therapy – This is a type of psychotherapy which is one of the most effective solutions for those with a phobia for the dentist. The therapy will involve seeing a dentist more and more on a gradual basis. The key to exposure therapy is taking gradual steps towards what you’re afraid of. For example, your first session might involve just visiting the dentist office without actually sitting down for an examination. Then you and your therapist will gradually build on this until you feel comfortable to take on a full appointment.
Medication – Medication might also be an option in trying to tackle your phobia of the dentist. Medication alone will not tackle your phobia but anti-anxiety medications might be able to lessen some of the symptoms while you’re working with a therapist.
Hypnotherapy – Much like arachnophobia, a fear of spiders or indeed any other phobia, that of the dentist can be addressed in some cases by effective hypnotherapy, which will help you come to terms with the fear and phobia and retrains your brain, so that you are no longer triggered in the same way.
How Can I Stay Calm at The Dentist?
Whether dealing with a severe fear or just some light anxiety, we all like to feel calm going into the dentist. Here are a few helpful tips to get that worry under control and make your experience at the dentist a calm one:
Find the Right Dentist – Finding the right dentist can make a world of difference to your experience. You can call potential practice to see whether any dentist specialise in dealing with patients with phobias and fears of the dentist. If you’re seeing a new dentist, you can always book a consultation before you have your examination, that way you can make sure that you feel comfortable with the dentist you’re seeing.
See A Dentist During A Quiet Period of The Day – Instead of visiting during the post-work rush, book your dentist appointment for a quiet part of the day like the morning. This way you’ll have less people around and your experience will be more relaxing.
Don’t Try and Do It Alone – Take a friend or a loved one with you to your dentist appointment to make your visit more relaxing.
Noise Cancelling Headphones – Block out the noise of the waiting room by using noise cancelling headphones or playing some music to keep you calm.
Breathing – Take deep breaths and practice other kinds of meditation when you start to feel anxious. Once your breathing is under control you will start to feel calmer.
Communicate with Your Dentist – It is okay to let your dentist know that you’re feeling a little bit nervous. You might want to establish a hand signal so that your dentist knows when you need to say something.
Remember You Can Always Stop – No dentist will want you to feel uncomfortable at any point. Remember that if you ever need the dentist to stop, they can and will. Again, it might be a good idea to arrange a hand signal so the dentist knows when you need a break. Use your break to take a walk, get some fresh air and try some of those deep breathing exercises or stop the appointment and reschedule for another day.