Do you dread visiting the dentist? Does the mere thought of a dental exam make you want to hide beneath your covers? Have you been avoiding scheduling a dentist appointment for months or even years? You’re not alone! Many people experience dental phobia. But it’s critical that you push past your discomfort to protect your oral health and avoid serious (and potentially irreversible) damage. Scroll down to learn how to get over your fear of the dentist.
How to Get Over Your Fear of the Dentist
Find the right dentist.
All dentists know that dental anxiety and dental phobia are real, prevalent issues. However, some dental practices take steps to alleviate their patients’ concerns while others make less of an effort. So, if you’re worried about scheduling an appointment for the first time in a while, look for a warm and welcoming dental practice. Check out their website or give them a call. Do they offer amenities and technology that will improve patients’ comfort? Do they aim to provide a personalized experience for each patient? Are the staff members friendly on the phone? Don’t settle for a less-than-stellar dentist.
Arrive early (but not too early).
If you rush in at the last minute, you might feel embarrassed or extra anxious. If you arrive too early, you may be sitting in the waiting room a while, which could lead to your imagination running wild and your nerves escalating. Instead, arrive just a little early and bring something distracting to entertain you while you wait, such as a book, earbuds to listen to music, or even just your phone!
Bring some comfort along.
In addition to bringing some entertainment for the waiting room, think about how you can make your actual dental appointment more comfortable. Again, you might wish to bring earbuds to play music (or an audiobook, a podcast, etc.) during the appointment. Consider wearing cozy clothes to feel more relaxed and at ease if possible. You might even want to bring a blanket (or a big scarf) if your dentist’s office tends to be chilly. In addition, consider bringing a friend along! You might feel more comfortable if someone you love is there to offer support.
Did you know some dental practices offer comfort items to improve patients’ experience and help them relax? At Wilkinson Dental, we provide our patients with a comfort menu to help ease their anxiety!
Use some relaxation techniques.
If you’re struggling with how to get over your fear of the dentist, look up some relaxation techniques to help with stress management before and during your appointment. Some common examples include progressive muscle relaxation (slowly tensing and then relaxing each muscle group in the body, also known as a “body scan”), visualization (imagining a peaceful, calm scene), and deep breathing (taking long, deep breaths). Practice these techniques ahead of time.
Let your dental team know that you’re feeling anxious.
Don’t be afraid to share your feelings. If your dental hygienist and dentist know that you’re feeling a bit nervous or unsettled, they can take steps to make your visit as relaxed as possible. They’re the experts, after all!
Sometimes dental phobia stems from certain tools, noises, or sensations. If you’re uncomfortable because you don’t know what’s happening next or you don’t know how something works, just ask! Your dental hygienist or dentist can explain the procedure, answer your questions, and appease your concerns.
Make your next appointment before you leave.
If you don’t particularly love visiting the dentist, you might put off making your next appointment. Suddenly a few months have passed, then a whole year, and your anxiety escalates because you know that your teeth are long overdue for a cleaning and may also have other hidden issues. If you let the situation spiral out of control, you might develop serious and irreversible tooth and gum damage. So, instead of relying on yourself to take the initiative and schedule an appointment, simply make your next appointment before you leave the dentist’s office. Your future self will thank you!
Take good care of your teeth between visits.
Finally, if your dental anxiety revolves around worrying that you have gum disease, cavities, or another issue, one of the best things you can do is focus on taking excellent care of your teeth. Brush your teeth twice daily with a soft-bristled brush, floss your teeth thoroughly at least once a day, and visit your dentist twice yearly. The next time you visit the dentist, you might get a simple thumbs-up and praise for your diligence!
If you’re looking for an experienced, reliable, and friendly dentist near Springfield, Missouri, contact Wilkinson Dental. Our team understands that visiting the dentist can be nerve-racking, so our beautiful new office was designed to put our patients at ease. From the window-filled waiting room and snack center to the kids’ play area, TV, and more, we want you to feel comfortable and welcomed as soon as you step inside. We also offer personalized treatment using state-of-the-art technology, including intraoral cameras, iTero, and CEREC, to make the process quick, simple, and painless. We would be happy to help you learn how to get over your fear of the dentist. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way back home again with a beautiful smile!
For exceptional and comprehensive dental care, schedule your first appointment today by calling 417-708-0556 or requesting an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!