How to Get Over Your Fear of the Dentist
You are not alone. Many people from all walks of life hate going to the dentist. Even a simple cleaning can be enough to strike fear in the heart of even the bravest person. Jokes are made to ease the discomfort. Dentists are painted as things to be feared in movies as a reflection of life. It’s understandable why the dentist might be frightening, especially to children. After all, the dentist’s office is full of strange and intimidating looking equipment and unfamiliar noises.
Where does the fear come from?
A fear of the dentist can come from any number of places. Whether it’s from negative experiences of the past or the uncomfortable surroundings, anxiety over a dentist appointment is a very manageable problem. A good dentist can help even the most anxious of patients have a pleasant visit.
First, find a dentist you trust
The first necessary step to overcoming your fear of dentists is finding a good dentist. Talk to your friends and family for a good recommendation. If the people you know and trust feel comfortable, there’s a greater chance you will, too. If none of your friends and family can make a good recommendation, it’s time to hit the yellow pages or the internet. Look for ads advertising that a dentist is “gentle”, or frequently works with patience fearing dentists. If that’s not enough to help you make your choice, check out reviews online. Many popular review sites have customer reviews, which can be excellent references.
Get clues from your first phone call
After you’ve decided on a dentist, it’s time to make the appointment. Listen to the receptionist. Is she friendly? Does she answer all of your questions and concerns as completely as possible? Friendly, helpful staff is often a sign of a friendly and helpful dentist. If you get a chance, swing by the office and take a look. An office that appears pleasant and busy is a sign of a successful dentist. To be successful, his customers must like his service.
Write up a list of concerns and bring it with you
When preparing for the visit it helps to think of what bothers you about dentistry. If it’s the sound of drilling, picking, and breaking teeth, many dentists will allow you to bring an mp3 player and headphones to tune out the procedure. Come up with a list of other concerns you have so you can discuss them with your dentist at your appointment. Having them on hand will prevent the added anxiety of trying to remember it all when you get there. It may also help to arrange to have a friend come with you to the appointment. Sitting in the waiting room is a lot less intimidating when you don’t have to wait alone. Practice some relaxation techniques in anticipation for your appointment. If you don’t know any, look some up online.
Voice your concerns, don’t try to hide your fear
At the office be sure to inform the dentist or dental hygienist of your concerns. Most dentists are more than happy to help you overcome your fears and make you as comfortable as possible. They are supportive people who are willing to help you overcome any past traumas and work to make the experience as pain-free and easy as possible. Your dentist may also be able to suggest ways to help manage your anxiety, such as visualization or even sedation. Your dentist is also there to answer any questions you have at the beginning of the appointment. Sometimes that knowledge alone can increase your comfort during a cleaning or procedure.
Dr. Takacs, a sedation dentist in Lexington, KY suggests that it’s helpful to change your perspective when it comes to dentistry. “Think of your dentist as a friend,” she advises. “Remind yourself that your dentist, like any other doctor, cares about your wellbeing and is there to help.”
It’s all too easy to think of the dentist as frightening, so sometimes it takes a little while to become comfortable with a different outlook. It’s easier to feel confident about seeing someone nice, friendly, and looking after your oral health than it is to think about someone who does root canals and drills teeth for a living. By focusing on the good, it’s easier to relax even before the appointment begins.
Sometimes getting over your fear of the dentist is as simple as finding a dentist that works well for you. Take some time to find a good dentist and to discuss your concerns openly. It can make a world of difference.