Are you one of the many adults who are gripped with fear at the thought of going to the dentist – even for nothing more than a good cleaning? Or someone who has had a negative experience with dentistry in the past and have since sworn off dental visits altogether? Whatever your reason to avoid seeing a dentist, know that you are not alone. Studies have shown that many adults have fears regarding dental visits.
Bearing in mind anxiety around dentistry is quite commonplace, what can you do about it? Let’s take a look at a few ways to speak to any fear or anxiety you may harbor about getting into that dental chair in a few easy steps.
Step 1: Acknowledge Your Fear
The biggest reason most people fear going to the dentist is pain. The simple fear of a painful visit consisting of the dentist poking, prodding and pulling inside your mouth is often why people never go. While many people will bluntly tell you they are afraid that if they check in to a hospital, they may never come out, these same people would feel petty or childish admitting that they are afraid having a tooth pulled will hurt too much.
Acknowledge to yourself that you are afraid of the pain. Look in the mirror and say it out loud — you’ll be surprised how freeing it can be.
Step 2. Get Positive Referrals
Next, talk to friends who have had a recent positive experience at the dentist – and then book a visit with their preferred oral care provider. Knowing someone has had a pain-free visit will further calm your nerves and help lessen any apprehension you may be feeling.
Step 3. Talk to Your Dentist
Let your dentist know of your concerns. Aside from the importance of letting the dentist know your frequency of professional oral care, you are giving him or her the opportunity to put you at ease. Once they know you have fears associated with the visit, the dentist and their staff can take extra care to explain whatever they need to and make sure you are fully understanding of the process. Establishing a rapport with the dentist will go a long way to dispelling any remaining fears you may have.
Step 4. Consider Sedation
For those with persistent or extreme cases of dental anxiety, your dentist may recommend sedation. At Children’s Dentistry in Las Vegas, for example, a certified dental anesthesiologist oversees the sedation strategy for each patient, which includes children with dental phobia and children with special needs.
There are various forms of sedation, including a light form of sedation wherein you will remain awake and somewhat alert, and IV anesthesia for twilight sleep sedation (or “going under”). Whatever sedation you and your dentist decide will be right for you and your visit, know that it will go a long way to ensuring a minimum of pain and discomfort.
There you have it: some great tips for conquering any anxiety and apprehension you have about popping down to the dentist’s office. And remember: putting off dental visits will only make your oral problems worse. So what are you waiting for? Let go of your fears and go see a dentist!