Dentophobia is a common phobia that affects children as well as adults. In fact, nearly 75 percent of adults in the US suffer from the fear of dentists. The fear is strong in about one in ten individuals to be classified as dental phobia.
Fear of the dentist can develop due to a painful or difficult dental experience. Hearing cringe-worthy dental stories can also fuel the fear. However, the fear prevents an individual from getting vital dental checkup or treatment. If you also suffer from dental phobia, the following tips will help you in overcoming dental anxiety.
1. Identify the Fear
You need to identify the fear that causes dental anxiety. Are you afraid of the needles or the dental drill? Is the fear of anesthetics preventing you from seeing the doctor? Do you fear feeling pain due to a dental procedure? Are you afraid due to embarrassment about crooked or stained teeth? Do you fear that the dental treatment will be costly?
Whatever the fear of visiting the dentist, you need to clearly identify the fear. Consider discussing with your dentists about dental anxiety. Dentists are familiar with most and may be willing to help you overcome the fear.
2. Seek Distractions
Distractions during a dental checkup or treatment can also help in overcoming dental anxiety. You should consider listening to music or watching TV during a dental procedure. This will keep you distracted due to which you aren’t likely to feel fear at the dental office.
3. Bring Someone During the Dental Appointments
Having someone you know during dental appointments can also help in overcoming dental anxiety. You can bring along your family member or friend who isn’t afraid of the dental procedures. Your companion will offer emotional support and assurance that will help in overcoming the fears.
4. Know More About the Procedure
Fear of the unknown fuels dental anxiety. You should get accustomed to the dental procedure by asking your dentist about the process. Experienced Family Dentistry experts explain what they will do and what you will feel. Getting knowledge about the dental process will help allay the fears making you feel comfortable about the procedure.
5. Try Relaxation Exercise
Relaxation exercise can also help you overcome the fear of visiting the dentist’s office. You should consider focusing on your breathing during a dental appointment. Controlled breathing will help you relax the muscles and slow down the heart rate. This will allow you to become relaxed thereby resulting in reduced fear.
6. Select the Right Time for Appointment
You should schedule an appointment during a time when you are less likely to feel anxious or rushed. Consider a weekend or early-morning appointment when you are under less pressure. You are less likely to panic when you arrive at the dentist’s office when feeling calm.
7. Get Professional Help
In case you are still not able to overcome dental fear, you should consider seeing a psychologist. An experienced psychologist will use direct therapeutic exposure to help you overcome the fear. They introduce the feared items such as drill and injection in a controlled setting and in a gradual manner.
You can ask the psychologist about anti-anxiety medications. Some professionals recommend medications such as Xanax, Vallian, and Ativan to get over the irrational fear. You should take medications as a last resort when everything else fails to overcome the dental phobia.
The above tips can help you overcome dental phobia and make the appointments comfortable for you. A dental visit may not be as terrifying as you think. Most dental procedures will cause minimum pain. Overcoming the dental phobia will help in maintaining good oral health.