Overcoming Fears of Going to the Dentist
If you fear going to the dentist, you’re not alone! It has been estimated that around 20% of Americans will only visit the dentist when they believe it’s completely necessary, while others avoid going altogether.
While there are different factors that can lead to dental fear, some are more common than others.
Common Causes of Dental Fears
Many people fear going to the dentist because they’ve either had an unpleasant experience in the past or they’ve learned of a negative experience someone else has had.
Numerous others don’t like feeling as though they have no control. After all, lying in a chair with various tools being poked around your mouth makes it difficult to communicate!
There’s also a fear of the unknown. What if you go in for a routine cleaning and end up needing a root canal? Some may fear the procedure itself, while others may have financial concerns about more complex dental treatments.
While these fears are valid, it’s important to try different measures to overcome them. Untreated dental problems will only worsen over time and poor dental hygiene can lead to serious health problems.
Tips for Overcoming Your Fear of Going to the Dentist
Let’s look at some ways to help you manage your fears and get you to the dentist’s office!
Before Your Visit
1) Get a Recommendation
It’s always best to get a recommendation from someone whose judgment you trust. This will give you more confidence in the dentist and help you find a dentist you’re comfortable with.
2) Visit the Office
Visit the office to see if it’s an environment you feel at ease in. Dental procedures have come a long way, even over the last few years, so be sure the office has up-to-date equipment and is capable of providing modern treatment options.
And if you’re concerned about the cost of your treatment, ask about payment plans they may offer.
3) Talk to the Dentist
Talk to the dentist about your fears in advance of your treatment. This will help you feel more in control and also better equip the dentist to work with you in overcoming your fears.
This is also a good time to discuss pain medications that are available and determine what’s best for you.
4) Schedule a Morning Appointment
Scheduling an appointment first thing in the morning can help you relax and avoid having the stress build up as the day goes on.
During Your Visit
1) Bring Support
Having company can provide the support and encouragement you’ll need during the often nerve-racking time in the waiting room.
2) Distract Yourself
Bring some entertaining reading material to help pass the time. You may also want to bring music and headphones. Listening to music can be a calming distraction.
3) Try Relaxation Techniques
Controlled breathing techniques can relax your muscles and slow down your heartbeat, alleviating some of the anxiety you may be experiencing.
After some trial and error, you’ll learn what works best for you. But it’s important to remember that routine dental visits can help avoid more complex dental procedures in the long run. Over time, your fears will become less pronounced and you’ll feel great about taking control of your health!