If you’re concerned about healthy living, and fear is keeping you from visiting the dentist – then it’s time get that phobia in check.
Dental fears – while very real – should not keep you away from the dentist. In fact, nothing should.
About 5% of people have severe dental fear, according to researchers from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. Those researchers found five strategies that people use to get over their fear of the dentist.
Their study showed that common coping practices include:
- Distracting yourself (counting to yourself or playing mental games so that you think about something else).
- Distancing (telling yourself the pain feels like something else), prayer (praying that the dental treatment will end soon).
- Self-efficacy (telling yourself to be strong).
- Optimism (telling yourself that everything will be OK after the dental treatment).
Here are some common dental phobias, and ways to outsmart them.
1. Fear of the unknown.
New patient… first visit … feelings of claustrophobia. No problem!
Ask to meet with me before that first appointment. Tell me about your fears and and what makes you uncomfortable. I’ll do everything in my power to make you feel more at ease in our office environment.
Also read: Dental Distress – The Fear of Pain
2. Afraid of dental equipement.
Those strange metal tools may look strange and scary to you. Ask to hold those tools first so they don’t seem so foreign.
3. Hate the noise.
If you can’t tolerate the sound of the equipment used in the dental office, I recommend that patients wear earplugs or noice-canceling headphones to block out the sound. I offer both of these in my office.
4. Can’t breathe through the nose.
Are you a mouth-breather? Don’t let that be an issue at a dentist visit, where the I must work in the mouth, which can make mouth-breathing hard.
Try using nasal strips to breathe through your nose.
Of course, the best way to avoid having scary procedures done at the dentist is to practice prevention. Be especially vigilant about taking care of your teeth to make sure there’s less for me to do.