If you dread going to the dentist, you’re not alone. Roughly 75% of us have a fear of the dentist, even if going for routine cleanings and check-ups.
The problem with letting dental phobia stop you from getting the treatment you need is that you are at greater risk of developing cavities and gum disease. The good news? There are many solutions for overcoming this fear and avoiding serious health complications.
In many cases, a dental phobia stems from a bad experience as a child, especially one that occurred before the age of four or younger. Your fear can stem from everything from the sound of the drill to remembering previous, uncomfortable dental treatments.
Tips for coping with your fear
- Get a good night's sleep before the appointment. Being well-rested can help reduce your anxiety.
- Focus on what can go well, not on what could go wrong.
- Think about how good it will feel to have your teeth cleaned and checked and to know your oral health is at its best.
- Practice deep breathing techniques can help slow your nervous system's response to fear, letting you think clearly and change your perceptions towards the experience.
- Try to avoid stressful situations before your appointment.
How to help someone who has a fear of going to the dentist
- Offer friendly counseling to friends or family that may turn to you.
- Be understanding and sympathize with their fear.
- If possible, offer to go with them to give them extra support. Keep in mind that someone with severe anxiety issues may require medical treatment or professional council.
How the dentist can help
- Consider calling the dentist’s office ahead of time and ask to speak with the doctor before scheduling an appointment. Be honest about your fears and concerns.
- Ask about some of the treatment options, including pain relievers and mild sedatives.
- Make sure to relax and remember to take deep breaths before and during the procedure.
- Don’t be afraid to go to the dentist! Try these tips and face your fear! In doing so, you may gain the confidence you’ll need to face similar challenges and fears in the future.
Excerpted from Dental phobias: fear of going to the dentist. Follow this link to learn more about the dental coverage available to you.