It is common to have some degree of anxiety associated with going to the dentist. However, for some people, the fear of dental treatment becomes so extreme that it turns into an actual phobia. This is problematic because many patients suffering from dental phobia cope by avoiding the dentist’s office altogether. Because dental health is closely tied to the body’s overall health, seeking regular preventive dental care is essential. So, what can be done about dental phobia? Consider the following tips:
Find the right dental office. First thing’s first: find a dental office that makes you feel comfortable. This includes a welcoming staff that is happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you might have. If staff members are dismissive of your fears, it is time to move on to an office that will take your concerns seriously.
Communicate openly. Dental phobia is nothing to be ashamed about. Remember: millions of people around the world are fearful of the dentist. So, talk to your dentist about your fears, and be specific. What exactly are you worried about? Do you fear pain? Or, is it a loss of control that causes you to panic? Knowing exactly what triggers your anxiety will help your dentist comes up with a plan of action to make your appointment as relaxing as possible.
Practice relaxation techniques. If you want to relax your mind, begin by relaxing your body. Practice relaxation techniques like guided imagery, where you visualise – in great detail – a scene that makes you feel at peace. Alternatively, you might choose to practice progressive muscle relaxation, a technique that focuses on relaxing one muscle of the body at a time.
Distract yourself. Sometimes, distractions are the best way to combat dental anxiety. So, consider bringing an iPod filled with your favorite relaxing music to your appointment. Pop in your headphones and tune out the sound of dental instruments as you listen to soothing songs. Not a big music fan? Try bringing an engaging book on tape instead.
Don’t let your fear compromise your oral health. Contact us today to learn how we can help you cope with dental phobia.