Why conquer your fear?
However, it is important to overcome your fears in order to care for your teeth. Somewhat ironically, those who fear the dentist and avoid attending will probably end up spending more time in the dentist’s chair than anyone. Regular preventative care is the best way to avoid lengthy and costly procedures such as fillings. Attending the dentist happily can also reassure children that the dentist is nothing to be afraid of, and avoid the cycle of passing on phobias. Read on for some tips on controlling and even conquering this common fear.
Choosing a dentist
Firstly, and most importantly, choose the right dentist! Go local, in order to avoid lengthy and stressful travel before your appointment, and so that you can ask a trusted friend or loved one to keep your company. Find a dentist which offers specific services to nervous patients, and read reviews or ask around to find one who is sympathetic and compassionate. Next, call the dentist’s office to talk about your particular needs, and schedule a visit to spend time with your potential new dentist. You might need to pay for the dentist’s time! Meeting your dentist will help create trust. If they don’t offer quick introductory meetings like this, politely decline and keep looking. When you meet your dentist, be honest and open about your fears, and ask lots of questions.
Once you’ve chosen your dentist, remember that whatever the condition of your teeth you don’t need to do it all in one go! Have some short, non-invasive examinations and procedures, such as cleaning and whitening. Once you begin to trust that you can have quick, painless dentist visits it will be easier to visit for longer procedures or even surgeries. If you do need some work, ask about anaesthesia. Included among your dentist’s offerings for nervous patients should be some discussion of various sedation options, from mild anti-anxiety medication to be taken before your visit, to a full-blown general anaesthetic. Discuss a range of options with your dentist, and make a plan so that there are no surprises. You might start with a mild sedative and move on to stronger options during your procedure, and you’ll feel calmer if you have agreed that this is a possibility.
Before you visit, imagine your visit. Visualise yourself travelling, waiting calmly with a magazine or a good book, enjoying a conversation with your dentist, and undergoing a procedure. Whenever you start to feel anxiety, remind yourself that your visit is routine, safe, and part of what you need to do to maintain your health and achieve a winning smile. Be ready with a reward to look forward to after your appointment, like a little treat, a nice dinner or a trip out.