Overcoming the Fear of Dental Appointments

Fear of the dentist, the dentist’s office or the potential for discomfort while there makes numerous people put off necessary dental appointments every year. In fact, experts estimate that up to eight percent of people avoid the dentist altogether because of dental anxiety. However, this can lead to worsening problems for your teeth and can actually create the need for more uncomfortable treatments in the future. By caring for your teeth now with good preventative strategies at home and regular dental appointments, you can actually make your appointments far less scary. Here are five other tips to follow if you have mild to severe anxiety about seeing your dentist.

Talk about Your Fears

You must begin by acknowledging to yourself that you do have anxiety about going to the dentist. You should then talk about this with your dentist. Discuss what he or she can do to help you overcome this problem. By communicating with your dentist, you allow him or her to meet you where you are.

Start with Mild Treatments

If you have dental anxiety, you may not be able to get all the necessary treatments that you need in one sitting. It is better to spread your treatments out over weeks or months rather than forego them altogether. Ask your dentist to start with basic treatments that are not uncomfortable or new to you.

Bring a Friend

When you bring along someone with whom you are comfortable, you will feel that extra support during your treatment. Plus, your friend or relative can help to distract you during the treatment by talking to you.

Relax and Distract

Even if you do not have someone with you, you can still find ways to distract yourself. Ask the dentist if you can listen to music or see if your dentist offers a room with a television mounted on the ceiling. You can also practice relaxation techniques, such as slow breathing, meditation or visualization.

Ask about Sedatives

If these tips do not solve your problem, ask your dentist if he or she offers sedatives. Some dentists provide oral medications that you take before you head to the dentist. Others offer IV or local anesthetics that can help reduce your discomfort and feel less concerned about heading to the dentist.

 

Be sure to find a dentist who works with patients who have dental anxiety. He or she will explain exactly what is going to happen and will ask your permission to continue with the treatment. You should always feel completely comfortable with your dentist and feel that he or she is willing to work with where you are in your dental journey. The right dentist will not make you feel bad about your feelings and will let you keep some control even while in the dentist’s chair. If you have not experienced this at your previous dentist, we invite you to visit Dr. Malekuti and see the difference that a compassionate, understanding dentist can make to your dental hygiene practice.



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