A lot of people suffer from some sort of fear or phobia, and a couple are commonly shared with many like the fear of clowns, spiders, or the dark. One common fear that could have consequences to your health is the fear of going to the dentist. It is estimated that as many as 15% of Americans, which comes to about 40 million individuals, have a fear of the dentist. In fact, it is one of the biggest reasons, along with cost and inconvenience, for those who do not go to the dentist the recommended amount. If you suffer from a Dentophobia, or fear of the dentist, don’t let it stand in the way of you getting the proper treatment and preventative care you need to keep your teeth and gums healthy and your smile looking great!
Communicate your Fears
Now that you know how common Dentophobia is, there is no reason to feel embarrassed or ashamed, and you certainly shouldn’t let those feelings stop you from making an appointment! One of the best things you can do for yourself and your dentist is clearly communicate how you feel so that they can use the best methods possible to treat you! Pinpointing what aspects of the dental appointment stress you out the most will allow your physician to approach you in an informed manner. If it helps, they can explain what they are doing before they do it, explain the tools and any substances, and talk you through the entire process to help ease your tension.
Listen to Music
Maybe you don’t want to know what is going on and you would rather pretend like you’re not even at the dentist. That’s fine, too! After discussion any necessary aspects of your treatment, put your headphones in and enjoy some music. For many, the sounds of the drill are a huge factor in their anxiety, so drowning it out with your favorite tunes can help you get through your appointment. Just be sure to set up some hand signals with your dentist so they know how to communicate with you while you are getting your work done.
Use Relaxation Strategies
There are a couple of things you can do to help lower your overall stress for your dental appointment. For instance, some foods and beverages induce anxiety. Avoiding high caffeinated beverages or foods with a high sugar content can help keep your stress level down. Strategically choosing your appointment time for a low stress hour for yourself can also help. So, if you function better in the morning as opposed to the afternoon, don’t schedule your appointment until you can get that desired time! And with anything that causes high stress, try to get adequate sleep the night before!
Choose Someone you Trust
If you don’t already have a dentist that you trust or have a repore with, ask the people in your community on who they love and who you might want to avoid. Then, once you get a couple of solid referrals from people you trust, don’t just make an appointment over the phone. Go into the office and get a feel for the environment! Familiarity is going to be one of the best ways to ease your nerves, so feel free to look around, ask questions, and talk to the physician before you make your appointment. You will know who is the best fit for you based on your personal interactions with the staff.