There’s one appointment in life that we all dread to make – the six monthly Check up at the dentist. I, like many, had a huge fear of the dentist, so much so that I avoided it for 10 years. Dental fears are not irrational and often stem from terrifying childhood memories of bad treatment and unsympathetic dentists. As you grow it’s hard to put those fears aside- whether it’s the sound of the drill, the smell or the thought of having treatment we all must learn to come up with a coping method. Here’s some of the best ways to overcome your fear of the dentist.
Find a dentist that specialises in nervous patients
If you do suffer from a lot of anxiety prior to your appointment you may want to find a dentist that works with and understands the needs of nervous patients. They’re normally a lot more patient and can accommodate your fears without making you feel silly.
Find a distraction technique
If you find a way to distract yourself from the sights and sounds of the dentist you may find your anxiety easier to deal with. A lot of dentists nowadays have TVs available in treatment rooms or you could take your own music to listen to so you can drown out the sounds of the drill etc.
Go with someone you trust
If you think you’ll probably bolt as soon as you step foot in the treatment room you might want to take someone with you. They’ll be able to keep you calm and reassure you that getting seen to is essential in order to stay healthy and pain free.
Try relaxation exercises
If you find your heart is racing and you’re starting to panic, breathing exercises may help you relax your muscles and slow your heartbeat. Try to plan something to do after your appointment so you have something to look forward to. Alternatively you could try Bach’s Rescue Remedy to try and calm your nerves.
If you’re unlucky enough to need treatment and don’t think your nerves can handle it you could speak to your dentist about sedation. It does depend on your dentist whether they are qualified to do this and you may need to see a specialist or book a hospital appointment.
Isolate your fears
Try to think what it is that scares you most about the dentist and try to find a way to tackle them. If you’re worried about pain you can make sure your gums are completely numb before they do any treatment, if you hate the smell you could try wearing a strong perfume. Whatever your fear is talk to your dentist and try to find ways to overcome it.
See a psychologist
If you find such are your fears you really cannot step foot in a dentist you could try seeing a psychologist. They can coach you on your fears and gradually introduce you to the things you’re most concerned about. You’ll feel comfortable knowing you’re in a calm, trusting situation and can gradually learn to thwart your fears.