If you have this unexplainable fear with regards to dental visits, then you are not alone, my friend. Approximately 75% of American adults have dentophobia or dental anxiety at varying levels. While some have a strong fear of dental visits because of fear, some are just having anxiety and will only seek dental treatment when it is already necessary. Dental fear and anxiety can be caused by a lot of things including traumatic experiences with the dentist or the dental clinic, pain, or the feeling of not being in control of the situation.
Whether you are just having anxiety or already full-blown dentophobia, it is important to face and tackle your fears head-on for your own good. The 5 ways below will help you overcome your fear of going to the dentist.
- Recognize your fears
The first thing to address your fear and anxiety is to accept in yourself that you are indeed scared. Come to terms with how you feel regarding dental visits. If it can help, get a pen and paper, write down your dental anxiety, then break it down into things or causes that make you fear it. Is it about the pain? The equipment? Or have you had a traumatic interaction with a dentist before? This is the first step in overcoming your anxiety.
- Be familiar with the procedure
Knowing everything that will possibly happen inside the dental clinic will give you the feeling that you are prepared enough which can minimize the anxiety. Read about dental procedures, how they are done, and how you will benefit from it. Sometimes, we fear something because we don’t understand it.
- Finding the right dentist
If your fear comes from an embarrassing experience that you had with your dentist, then the most logical option is to find another dentist. While all dentists are skilled at performing their job, they may not always have the best bedside manner. Ask your family and friends for recommendations. It might help to call them in advance or talk to them in person. You will get an idea of how the dentists are through the tone in their voice, how they accommodate you, or how they interact with their staff. The atmosphere in the clinic also plays a major role in dealing with your anxiety. The clinic must be relaxing and the staff must be warm and welcoming to help you relax and forget about your fear.
- Share your fears
Another way to relieve your anxiety is to talk about it. Tell your dentist or the dental staff about your fear. If your dentist knows about your worries, he will be able to adjust the dental procedure in such a way that your visit will create a good experience for you.
- Practice breathing relaxation
To deal with your fear and anxiety, you also need to exert extra effort. Prior to your dental visit, do yoga or meditation in order to clear up your mind. Practice breathing techniques too which you can use to help you relax whenever your anxiety level increases.
Here at New Smiles Dental, we want all of our patients to feel as comfortable as possible when they are in our office. If you feel any fear or have been reconsidering your dental checkup appointment, try the tips provided above and contact us. Our dentists and staff in Woodbridge, Stafford, and Alexandria will do what we can to help you on your appointment day.