Fear of going to the dentist remains common. In fact, between 9% and 20% of Americans avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety or fear (wedbmd.com). Many of us have valid reasons for this fear. But when you put your dental visits on the backburner because of it, you are putting your oral and overall health at risk. So how can you overcome it?
Validate Your Anxiety or Fear of Going to the Dentist
First, it’s worth noting that anxiety or fear of going to the dentist is one thing. But a dental phobia is a more serious condition that may leave you feeling uncontrollably terrified or panicked. And you may only go to the dentist if you’re experiencing extreme pain.
Other signs of dental phobia include:
- Feeling physically ill or crying at the thought of going to the dentist.
- Trouble sleeping the night before your dental visit.
- Increasing nervousness while in the waiting room of your dental office.
- Uneasiness or difficulty breathing while the dental hygienist or dentist is working on your mouth.
In some cases, dental phobia treatment may involve psychological help, like therapy. However, try these suggestions first.
Experts encourage us to acknowledge fears and other emotions in kids, even if they seem irrational at times. And sometimes adults need the same acknowledgment of emotions in order to overcome them.
You may have one or several good reasons for your fear of going to the dentist.
- You may have had a bad dental experience in the past, or heard stories from friends or relatives.
- You may fear pain.
- You may fear needles, particularly in your mouth.
- You may worry about effects (or lack of effects) of anesthesia.
- Being at the dentist may make you feel a lack of control.
- You may feel uncomfortable or self-conscious about your dentist being so close to your face.
But if you’ve read Study the Cycle: How Your Teeth and Overall Health Connect, you know how important dental health is to your overall health. And you want to overcome this fear of going to the dentist.
The Friendliest Dentists and Orthodontists in NC
Overcome Your Fear of Going to the Dentist Once and For All
Once you’ve validated your feelings of fear or anxiety, you can take steps to remove them.
- Know that technology has changed drastically to help make dental treatments as painless and safe as possible.
- Surround yourself with positive dental stories from friends and families to help push out the negative ones.
- Have a friend of family member go with you. Listen to your own music using ear buds, ask the dentist if there’s a TV to distract you or practice deep breathing and muscle relaxation before your visit.
- Tell your dentist about your fears or apprehensions and ask him or her to explain what’s happening during each step of your visit. Even establish a signal (like raising your hand) so your dentist or hygienist will pause when you need a breather.
- Finally, if your dentist does not take your fear seriously, find a more compassionate one.
Fear NOT Your Dentist At Last
- Fear of going to the dentist is common. Don’t feel alone or ashamed.
- You may have valid reasons for your fear, and they should be acknowledged.
- For more extreme fear, therapy may help.
- You may take several steps to remove your fear—the most important one is to find a caring and empathetic dentist.
A Happier Smile Means a Happier You
At The Happy Tooth, our entire purpose is to provide you with a brighter smile through a healthier mouth, as well as through a pleasant and pain-free dental experience. Your dentist will explain what you can expect and answer any questions. He or she will also check to make sure you’re comfortable throughout any procedures.
So, put dental health back on your priority list. Contact our Happy Tooth professionals and start overcoming your fear of going to the dentist today.