It’s high time you faced your fear!
It is estimated that about 75% of the world’s population is afraid of the dentist. Nonetheless, only up to 12% really have a phobia and the others have anxiety and fear. Many people with this problem usually seek dental care only if an emergency occurs, having an acute pain or a dental abscess.
Commonly with patients who are afraid of the dentist, we find the cause comes from childhood. If the patient experienced painful extractions, for example, or heard of bad experiences in family or friends.
The main fears that people have in relation to going to the dentist :
- Fear of pain
- Fright of needles
- Fear of specific smell
- Fear of uniforms(white)
- Fear of unknown
- Fear of dental treatments
- The gag reflex
- Fear of loud noise(drill)
- Feeling uncomfortable leaning back the dental chair
- Difficulty to breath through nose
- Feeling embarassed having bad teeth
Here is some advice which may help you to successfully get over your dental appointments.
#1. Find a dentist with whom you feel you can have a good collaboration.
#2. Do your booking in the first part of the day, when you are more rested.
#3. Take your headphones with you to listen to some soothing music, with known lyrics, listen to a postcast or funny audio books when you are in the waiting room. You even can use your headset when you are in the dental chair. This strategy may help you to relax.
#4. Take a friend or a member of your family with you for moral support. Sometimes, they are allowed to come into the treatment room with you and hold your hand, if you want.
#5. The first appointment is always an oral consultation to establish the treatment plan and an oral check up. So, don’t worry, no pain, no drills in the first day. This is the chance to get to know your dentist better.
#6. If dental treatments are needed, discuss with your doctor what exactly the treatment plan means, so that you understand fully what is going to happen. Once you receive the complete information, you become more familiar and the fear disappears.
#7. In agreement with the dentist, you can start the dental treatment with simple procedures, for example an oral cleaning or a small filling and then increasing gradually the complexity of treatments if they are needed.
#8. Explain to the dentist what you are afraid of and agree with her or him to show this in the treatment time: when you need a break from mouth opening or if you feel discomfort. You can agree a sign with her or him to show when you want to stop the treatment. Raising your hand is a good one
#9. Choose to do local anaesthesia and pre-anaesthesia to be completely relaxed. For injection an understanding dentist can use a gel to numb your gum before doing anaesthesia. Therefore, the pain is reduced to zero.
#10. You can get involved if you like and hold the suction, we can help with this. Many patients love this because they feel more included.
#11. Alternatively, for patients with dentophobia, an inhalosedation or general sedation (intravenous) can be performed before treatments or sedative tablets can be taken. Also, breathing techniques and hypnotherapy could be considered for the most fearful patients, some of dental surgeries using this new type of procedure before dental treatments.
#12. Solve existing dental issues as close as possible to when you spot them to avoid further complications.
#13. Go for your regular checkups at least once every six months to detect the incipient cavities and remove the calculus. Superficial caries are treated without anesthesia, without pain.
The best way to overcoming the dental fear is to simply take good care of your teeth. The dentist can help you get over your fear, that will only become a memory. Every dental professional wants their patients to feel calm and relaxed!
Article written by Dr. Simona Bugaciu, dentist at Dental Tech Group
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