If you are one of those who actually enjoys your annual or semi-annual visit to the dentist, you are lucky. The mere thought of making such a trip not only scares many people, it has kept a lot of them away from the dental chair. Sadly, those who fear their dentist probably need dental care the most. But there is a solution to reduce the amount of stress some patients experience.
With new technology working its way into oral health, the dentist’s office is a far nicer place to be than it once was. Many procedures now are actually pain-free and needles are becoming a thing of the past. But still, some people will not go near the dental clinic until they can no longer stand the pain. It shouldn’t be that way.
Here are some tips on how to beat that anxiety.
1. Are You And Your Dentist The Right Match?
It may not be obvious at first, but sometimes you may dislike taking the trip to your dentist’s office because there is something at that venue that bothers you. It could be the person at the front counter or possibly even the dentist. If this is the root of your problem, don’t hide it.
The dentist and dental staff are trained professionals. If you decide that you need to change dentists to get past your fear, then say so. You have every right to find a comfortable fit and it is far better for you to be treated by someone you respect, get along with and like rather than someone you don’t.
2. Do You Fear What You Can’t See Is Happening?
There is something a little bit intimidating as well as scary about the sounds and activities that take place when you are in the dentist chair. With tools going in and out of your mouth, some making noise and others poking around, it can get rather scary not knowing what is going on.
If this is the main source of your anxiety, tell your dentist ahead of time. They have dealt with this sort of thing many times in the past. You can ask to have each step explained to you as they happen and even have access to a mirror so you can watch every move going on in your mouth. This can relieve a lot of uncertainty.
3. Do You Feel Comfortable With A Friend Nearby?
If you find being ‘alone’ in a room with a couple of virtual strangers, you have reason to be a little concerned about that. Unfamiliar surroundings can throw off anyone who sees a dentist infrequently. But you can always request that someone you know accompany you to the examination room. This will have to be approved in advance by your dental professional but most will comply.
In fact, having a friend or family member nearby will not only calm you down, they can provide you with reassurance. It is often a good idea to have a parent in the room when the patient is a young child. Although your dentist has experienced all possible scenarios, they want the experience to be a positive one for each of their patients as well.
4. Have You Shared Your Fear With Your Dentist?
One of the best ways to reduce the stress of visiting your dentist is to share your concerns. If you have a fear of needles, your dentist may be able to provide freezing in pain-free methods with gels and creams. If your concern comes from something else, there are many solutions that can be introduced to keep you relaxed.
Possibly having laughing gas administered to you during the procedure will calm you down. Maybe just by getting it off your chest and sharing with your dental care professional will be enough to clear the air. Your dentist wants to help you and if you have a difficulty of any kind, you should let him or her know so they can remedy the situation.
5. Did A Previous Visit Scare You Somehow?
Something as routine to your dentist as a regular cleaning can be an anxious time for many, especially for some elderly patients. Sometimes they can’t hear properly and misunderstand what they are being told during the examination. Sometimes the scary part is after the visit and the bill is presented.
If the cost of seeing your dentist previously has given you reason to be afraid to go again, tell your dentist. They typically provide different dental payment options to make it easier on their patients who do not have coverage plans or are living within a limited income. Cost should not keep you away from having your oral health treated properly.
6. Do You Keep An Oral Health Routine?
One of the best ways to reduce the stress of seeing your dentist is to take good care of your teeth between visits. This means watching what you eat, brushing and flossing on a regular basis – at least twice a day – and seeing your dentist.
When your teeth, gums, tongue, and mouth are in good health, you reduce the amount of time spent in the dental office. If you are not sure what the best practices are, ask your dentist for advice on how to keep your smile intact which will reduce your stress.
Being fearful of the dentist office is not something to take with a grain of salt. There is a reason for the fear, however, there are several ways to combat that. If you fear your dentist, the equipment, the possibility of pain or even the cost, your best solution is to speak with your dental care professional.
By working together with you, a possible solution can be found that will not only bring you back to seeing your dentist regularly, it will benefit your teeth. You should be smiling when you leave the dental chair, not upset and fearful. Let your dentist work on helping you to get over your dental anxiety.