If you suffer dread, anxiety, or even fear when thinking about visiting a dentist, you’re not alone. Many people today feel the same way. While you know you need to maintain good oral health, including regular dental exams and cleanings, you may procrastinate or even avoid scheduling these essential appointments altogether.
Avoiding dental appointments, however, can lead to problems that become worse the longer they go untreated. These problems can range from cavities, cracked or chipped teeth, sensitivity, gum disease, infection, and pain.
To help you gain your confidence and relax when it comes to dental appointments, there are steps you can take to face your fears and prioritize your oral health once again.
5 Easy Steps to Facing Your Fears of the Dentist
The benefits of going to the dentist far outweigh the negatives, so finding a way to face your fears is imperative. Follow these five easy steps to doing just that.
1. Recognize Your Fear for What it Is
There are dozens of reasons you may fear visiting a dentist. Try to identify and recognize these fears so you know what to focus on overcoming.
Do you fear the pain that may come with dental procedures? If so, it may help to know that today’s treatments and techniques have advanced, providing more comfortable experiences and less invasive procedures.
Loss of Control
Fear can center around a feeling of a loss of control. You may feel you will be trapped in the dentist’s chair with no way to escape. To help, determine a signal to let the dental team know you need a break during any procedure, such as holding up two fingers or the palm of your hand. This method gives you some control, so you don’t feel as if you have no choice but to endure.
If you fear the unknown, as in what the procedure involves, ask your dentist to explain the process of whatever treatment you are to undergo. Knowing this can help you relax and know what happens next.
Bad Past Experience
Perhaps you had a bad past experience with a dentist, and this has tainted your view of all dental professionals. Hopefully, you can realize that not all dentists are the same and that today you have more options than ever of who to choose. That leads us to the next easy step to facing your fears – selecting the right dentist.
2. Find and Schedule a Consultation with the Right Dentist
You need to feel comfortable with your dentist, so spend some time finding the right one to fit your needs. Develop a list of questions or requirements, and start calling dental offices to find out about each one. Your first clue will be how the receptionist or front office person responds to you.
Once you identify a dental office you like, schedule a new patient consultation with the dentist. During this consultation, communicate what your fears are. Your dentist will consider these and discuss the best ways to treat your teeth and gums in order to make your experience as comfortable and non-threatening as possible.
You also may be able to choose sedation therapy as an option during procedures.
3. Identify Relaxation Techniques to Rely On
Try to find ways to relax during your dental visits. Focus on your breathing, count to 100, meditate, or picture a beautiful location you enjoy visiting. The dental office may also offer warm blankets, eye masks, headphones, or other features to help relax patients.
4. Devise Ways to Distract Yourself
Distracting yourself away from anxious thoughts is also a way to deal with fear. You already know these fears exist, so face them with a strategy to distract yourself during dental visits.
Determine if listening to music, an audio book, or a podcast will help to distract you enough. Look to see if your dental office has installed screens for you to watch videos while in the dentist’s chair.
Sounds can also be discomforting and unnerving during dental procedures. Fortunately, today, technological advancements are replacing such dental tools as drills in some instances and replacing them with quieter, more efficient methods.
By planning ways to divert your attention away from the details of the procedure, you can alleviate the stress you feel.
5. Bring Along a Trusted Companion to Appointments
The support of a trusted companion can do wonders for soothing your nerves and alleviating fear. Knowing you are not alone can make the visit less intimidating as well. Arrive early together so you don’t feel rushed.
Plan something fun to do together following the appointment. That way, you have something to look forward to while undergoing your cleaning, exam, treatment, or dental procedure.
Schedule Your Appointment with the Caring Professionals at Linworth Family Dental Today
Whether you’re looking for a new dentist for you or your family or need to schedule a dental exam or cleaning, Linworth Family Dental is here to help. We understand that facing your fears is a personal challenge, and our compassionate, friendly team will work with you to find a way to make your experiences at Linworth Family Dental as comfortable as possible. Call our Columbus office or request an appointment online today, and let us help you obtain the dental care you need and deserve.