Dentistry practices have evolved a lot over the years. Nowadays most dental procedures are completely pain-free and you can walk out of your dentist’s office with a beautiful smile after just a few visits. Yet the fear of the dentist remains incredibly common. That’s why so many people put off going to the dentist until their problems become too serious to be ignored.
And let’s face it. A visit to the dentist’s office is not exactly an event anyone would look forward to. In fact, there’s a long list of things people would rather do than go to the dentist. But if you want to have healthy teeth and gums, and avoid complicated and costly dental procedures, regular dental visits are a must.
Since there’s no way around it and you have to accept that you’re going to see your dentist quite often in the future, you must find a way to fight your fears and keep dental anxiety at bay. The good news is dental fears, unlike dental visits, don’t have to become a part of your life. Here are some strategies that can help you manage your anxiety and make dentist appointments less scary.
Choose a good dentist
Your fears might come from the unpleasant experiences you’ve had with dentists in the past. But just because you’ve had one bad dental experience (or more) it doesn’t mean the scenario will repeat itself. Finding the right dentists for you is key when you’re overwhelmed by dental anxieties. If you don’t know where to begin your search, recommendations from friends and family are a good starting point. Google can also be of help if you want to find a good dentist in your area. If you’re looking for a great dentist in Sidney, a quick search on Google will provide you with a list of dental offices close to your location, so you can decide which one ticks your boxes.
Talk to your dentist about your fears
Some people only experience a mild fear when they step into the dentist’s office while others are completely terrified with the mere idea of making an appointment with their dentist. Whatever the case might be, you have to let your dentist know about how you feel, so he can help you out.
Don’t be afraid to express your fears. You’re not the only person going through this, and most dentists are used to treating patients with similar problems. What’s more, some practitioners specialize in working with people with extreme dental fears. They’ll take the time to listen to your problems without judging you and they’ll know how to provide the support you need to overcome them.
Take it slow
When something seems difficult and scary, people say the first step is the hardest and that’s usually true. But when you have dental phobia every step seems just as hard, from deciding you have to go to the dentist, to making the actual appointment and then stepping into the dentist’s office. That’s why some people will never go through with their appointments and they can change their mind even when they’re standing in front of their dentist’s office.
The best approach is to take things slowly and start gradually. That means you don’t have to do everything at once. You can start by simply visiting your dentist and talking about the procedures you might need. Then, when you feel ready, you can move on to routine exams and so on. You get to establish the pace and decide when’s the time for a full exam.
Ask someone to accompany you
Sometimes, all you need is someone to be there for you and reassure you that everything’s going to be just fine. Most people find it comforting to bring a friend or a family member along to help them ease their fears. Talking to someone while you wait to see your dentist can get your mind off all the dreadful thoughts that usually overwhelm you in those moments. It’s a good idea to be accompanied by a person who isn’t afraid of dentists and has good energy, because the last thing you want is to bring someone who will start talking about their own fears.
Find something to distract you
When the company of a friend or family member doesn’t seem to help or you can’t find someone to go with you, there are other ways for you to find comfort. You can make a playlist and listen to your favourite e songs on repeat when you’re in the waiting room or on the dentist’s chair to help you relax. If listening to music doesn’t make you feel better, you can use earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones to block off those scary drilling and suction sounds. And if there’s a TV in your dentist’s office, you can distract yourself with a movie or a TV program you like.
Try relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques can really make a difference in reducing your anxiety levels before a dentist appointment. From breathing exercises, to meditation, visualization or even prayer, there are many ways in which you can relax that usually prove effective in managing anxiety and dental fears. Most experts suggest starting with breathing techniques as they can help slow your heartbeat and thus make you feel calmer and more relaxed.
Seek professional help
For most people, at least one of the strategies mentioned above will help make things better or even eliminate fear of the dentist completely. But not everyone is that lucky. For those suffering from odontophobia, things are usually a lot more complicated. Sometimes, no relaxation technique nor the most skilled dentist out there can make those fears go away. That’s when you should start thinking about seeking professional help.
A qualified therapist will know exactly which methods to employ to get to the root cause of the problem and choose the best course of treatment for you. As long as you’re willing to receive help, you’ll find a way to make dental fears a thing of the past.