Unfortunately, there is huge number of patients who do not go to the dentist not because they cannot afford to, but because they deal with an intense dental fear and anxiety.
First of all, try to find the root of the problem Are you afraid of the dentist because you experienced painful dental treatments in the past? Or maybe are you afraid simply because you can feel those intense “dental clinic smells”?
Or rather is it because you are afraid of the pain, and you are on the verge on making a panic attack at every needle you see? Once you establish the root of the problem it will be much easier to find the perfect solution.
Overcoming Dental Fear: If you have to, find another dentist.
If it is your dentist that you feel uncomfortable with, you should choose another dental professional. There are many skilled dentists in your area, you don’t necessarily have to stick with a dentist with whom you do not feel comfortable at all. Choose a dental professional who is specialized in offering dental care to anxious patients.
These dentists generally have offices that are reminiscent of anything else but a cold, white, smelly dental office. They welcome patients in extremely comfortable environments, and as specialists they will make sure to explain to you every detail of the dental procedure, and use the “show and tell technique” (showing you the instruments and explaining what these are used for).
If you can anticipate what is going to happen, you will cope with your anxiousness much better.
How else will such a professional help you:
- he is going to ask for permission to continue frequently throughout the treatment-
- he will offer you the opportunity to make him stop whenever you feel uncomfortable- this way, you will feel more in control
- he will take frequent breaks, talk to you in the meantime, and resume work whenever you are ready. They are extremely patient, even if they need to spend double the time on a certain procedure
Overcoming Dental Fear: Never go alone to your appointment
Some patients are truly comforted if they are accompanied by a dear family member or a friend when they need to see the dentist. Knowing there is someone waiting for you outside is going to give you comfort, and you can fight off your dental fear much easier.
Overcoming Dental Fear: Use distractions
Take your mp3 player and your favorite headphones with you, and ask the dentist for permission to listen to your favorite music during the treatment. Not hearing that dental drill can make a huge difference in lowering the levels of your anxiety.
You are also welcome to close your eyes and think of anything but the fact that you are sitting in a dental chair.
Overcoming Dental Fear: Ask your dentist about sedation options
There are many dental sedation options available which help greatly patients with dental phobia. There is oral sedation (pills), IV sedation and nitrous oxide “Laughing Gas” sedation available. Your dentist will let you know which type of sedation is suitable in your case.