How to overcome fear of the dentist: 7 useful tips
Many people are afraid of the dentist. If you're one of these people, you may wonder how to overcome fear of the dentist. These 7 useful tips can help.
Those recurring nightmares of the dental chair reclining slowly backward. Dentists looming over you with weird utensils and the blinding light above them. We've all been there; a fear of the dentists is a very normal and common fear to have.
In fact, some studies note that as much as 60% of people worldwide have some form of dental fear.
So, how to overcome a fear of the dentist? Don't worry, if you're scared of the dentist and simply can't face your next appointment, we're here to help.
We've outlined some of the main ways in which you can fight your fears, which will allow you to enter your next dental appointment confidently.
How to Overcome a Fear of the Dentist: Finding out Why
The first thing to do when you're attempting to overcome your fear of the dentist is acknowledging why this fear exists in the first place. Many experts note that this acknowledgment is the first step in the process of acceptance and recovery from all types of fears.
So, why is it exactly that most people are scared of the dentist?
For most people, it can stem from a traumatic experience due to a period of severe tooth pain, or a bad experience with a bad dentist. Sometimes people fail to see the dentist despite having an emergency, until its too late to help them without causing pain.
Teeth are a very sensitive part of the body, and the truth is that sometimes you will experience tooth pain. If you've had a particularly traumatic experience, it is best to first acknowledge this as the likely cause of your fears.
In acknowledging this, you can begin working to solve the problem directly.
Make Big Changes and Research a New Clinic
If you're afraid of the dentists, it might be because of the dental practice you've been visiting. Perhaps you don't get on with the dentist you have right now, or they don't make you feel comfortable during treatment.
Part of a good dentist's job is in making a patient feel at ease, just as much as it is curing their tooth pain. Many people don't think of it, but changing your dentists can be a great way to fight your fears.
You should research the team found at a new dental practice; a good clinic will have thorough details on all their staff members and their experience.
Reading through this information can help put you at ease when it comes to visiting the dentist also. It can remind you that dentists and nurses are people too; they aren't there to hurt you, it's their job to care for you.
Coping Strategies in the Waiting Room
If your fear isn't specifically to do with your clinic but an overarching fear of dentistry, you should consider some coping mechanisms.
The waiting room can be the worst place to be for fearful patients, as they feel a sense of dread and foreboding. But you're letting your head get the better of you; use this time to relax. Consider bringing a book in with you to the waiting room, or downloading your favorite podcast ready to listen to.
This can take your mind off of the treatment itself and help you to normalize the experience of going to the dentist in the future.
Some dentists have televisions which can also prove a worthwhile distraction for anxious patients. Or you could request access to the clinic's WiFi so that you can stream some YouTube videos whilst you wait.
You also don't have to go to your appointment alone. Consider bringing a friend or family member with you who can support you whilst you wait.
If you're really panicked, the best thing to do is let your clinic's nurses know. Just like we said earlier they are there to help you and will do everything they can to make you feel comfortable as you wait.
Consider Sedation Dentistry
If you've done all you can when it comes to coping strategies and still feel the fear, you should discuss this with your dentist. The option of sedation dentistry might be best to help force your mind away from worrying about treatment.
Sedation dentistry is a method that keeps you, the patient, sedated safely throughout the appointment. This sedation will keep you calm and relaxed throughout the entire process.
This is perfect for those who simply can't get over their phobia, as it allows the dentist to safely work on your teeth whilst your fears are controlled by the sedative.
If you have any specific questions about how sedation dentistry works, you should read our previous blog post on the process. In that post, you can find an outline of the process as well as answers to several questions, like whether you'll feel pain or when sedation is helpful.
If you're truly worried about your appointment, discuss this option or others with your dentist directly. They will be able to advise you on the ideal methods to tackle both your tooth pain and your phobia.
Where Should I Go If I'm Looking for a Welcoming Dentist Practice?
You're already in the right place! Here at Twilight Dental Group, it's our priority that our patients aren't just treated for their tooth problems, but they are treated in terms of their dental phobia also.
We have many answers to the question of how to overcome a fear of the dentist, and in particular, are well-versed in sedation dentistry. If you require an appointment, you can book a consultation with us online today.
Or, if you need to know more about how we support patients with a phobia of the dentist, you can call or email us directly on that same web page. One of our team will be glad to talk your concerns through with you and help put you at ease for future appointments.
At Twilight Dental Group, we're committed to helping those who are scared of the dentist. We work with you to turn dental appointments from a scary visit to a stress-free regular appointment.