Putting off going for necessary dental treatments can lead to discomfort and toothache and your oral health worsening. It’s important for everyone to visit their dentist routinely to make sure there are no worrying changes in your teeth and gums.
When you’re scared of the dentist it can lead to nagging doubts that cause you to avoid making that all-important appointment, and, in some cases, it can even bring on panic attacks.
Dental anxiety is quite common, and these days dentists are well equipped to handle patients that suffer from dentophobia.
Let’s take a look at why it’s okay to be scared of the dentist and what you can do about it.
Why It’s Okay to Be Scared of the Dentist
Being scared or anxious about visiting the dentist is rational. Usually, dentophobia is brought on by a negative experience at the dentist. Often this may be something you’ve carried with you since childhood.
Other possible reasons are associated with any pain or discomfort you may be experiencing as a result of a current dental problem. You may already know that you need a treatment such as a root canal or an extraction, and the knowledge of this may instil fear or doubt in your mind.
Whatever the cause, it’s perfectly okay to feel fear and, while you won’t come to any harm during your treatment, it’s important that you don’t invalidate your own emotions surrounding your anxiety.
How to Deal With Your Dental Anxiety
The first step in dealing with your dentophobia is to work out exactly what you dislike and what you’re afraid of. Common fears include:
- Being in pain or discomfort as a result of a procedure
- Concerns about side-effects or complications of a treatment
- Dislike or fear of dental appliances such as drills
- Worries or anxiety associated with anaesthetic
- Not being in control
- Having someone in your personal space
- Dislike of the sounds associated with dental procedures
Once you’ve worked out which things you’re scared of and to what degree, you can start to plan your visit and how you’ll tackle these worries. Your next step will be to talk with your dentist.
We will be able to help you by talking through the reasons for your anxiety, allowing you to book longer appointments so that any treatment can be taken at a pace that suits you, and using gentle sedation to completely relax you throughout.
What Else Can You Do About Dentophobia?
Unfortunately, dentophobia isn’t something that goes away on its own. You’ll need the right help. Other steps you can take to manage or even overcome your fears include:
- Speaking to your doctor about anti-anxiety medication
- Seeking the assistance of a therapist
- Gradually exposing yourself to the thing you’re most afraid of
- Taking a friend with you to your dental appointments
- Booking an early appointment while the dental practice is quiet
- Listening to music through noise-cancelling headphones during your appointment
- Agreeing on a shorthand code with the dentist to indicate that you’re in distress
- Learning breathing techniques to help you relax
Take It One Step at a Time
It’s okay to be scared of the dentist, however, with the right support and guidance, you can overcome these fears. It’s always advisable to speak to your dentist about your anxiety and make sure your treatment is delivered at your pace.
Talking to us about your dentophobia is the first step in overcoming it and taking control of your oral health needs.