Having any form of phobia can be debilitating and can prevent you from living an otherwise content and relatively stress-free life. Insert an irrational fear, and your world can be turned upside down. Some people despise spiders, others reach for a brown paper bag when they spy a pigeon, and some folk can even faint at the site of a piece of antique furniture. Phobias are irrational, and to those people who are lucky enough not to be afflicted by them, they seem nonsensical.
A fear of the dentist is one of the most common phobias with an estimated 5% of Americans not visiting a dentist out of sheer panic. To maintain good oral health and to ensure that your teeth receive the necessary quarterly checkup, it’s imperative that you try and overcome your fear.
Locate A Dentist Who Specializes In Phobias
The memory of your childhood dentist being rough, curt and almost bullying is not representative of the vast majority of dentists. Some practices have even decided to focus on helping those with excruciating anxiety to sit in the chair. You may be nervous that your teeth are in a bad way and the dentist will admonish you. You might be wary of the dentist using a drill or injection without your knowledge. Or you may simply hate the idea of being in a situation that you can’t control.
These specialist dentists will talk to you like a normal human being, take your appointment slowly and keep you updated as to what they are doing. You may not even have your teeth checked at the first appointment as the dentist will be more concerned with getting you used to the room, the smells, the instruments and the people around you.
Take A Friend
Most dentists will allow you to take someone into the room with you as you lie in the chair. They’ll be able to hold your hand and talk to you as the dentist carries out an examination. If you do require treatment, look into less invasive options if you remain fearful. Instead of metal braces, you could seek out the less invasive Invisalign, a removable set of aligners. If you need a filling, ask about the possibility of using a resin treatment without the need for a drill.
You may never be fully relaxed when heading to the dentist, but you can take the edge off your phobia. Try some deep breathing exercises focusing on your exhalation as you try to control your anxiety. Think about taking up yoga or practicing mindfulness techniques in an effort to become less tense when considering your visit to the dentist. Any strategies that you have at your disposal to help settle your fears as and when you need to sit in the dentist’s chair.
Having a phobia is nothing to be ashamed of, but it’s also not impossible to overcome it. Follow this advice, and you’ll be well on your way to making your first appointment at the dentist in years.