Many people have a phobia about visiting the dentist. Are you one of them? Research suggests that millions of people have at least some dental anxiety and many are so frightened that they experience unpleasant physical symptoms.
Such fears usually stem from a bad dental visit early in your life. Sometimes it can be helpful to determine why you dislike going to the dental office and communicate that to the dental office that you choose. That way, they can be sure to address those concerns to try to make you more comfortable.
Fear prevents a lot of people from seeking out good dental care that they need. This is especially tragic considering that going to the dentist today can result in a good experience. Dentistry has changed quite a bit in recent years. In some cases, drilling and “Novocaine” are not needed because bonding and laminating materials now allow you to retain more of your natural tooth structure. Some dental lasers (such as the Waterlase MD) create their own numbing effect without the need for “Novocaine” injections.
Positive self-talk might be the easiest way to build your courage. Tell yourself “I can handle this” and remind yourself of other times you did well despite your fears. Here are some other things you can try to relieve your anxiety:
- Bring someone you trust with you to your visit to make you feel more secure
- Set up an early morning appointment so you have less time to worry beforehand
- Keep your upcoming appointments to yourself—don’t give others a chance to feed your fears
- Share your concerns and apprehensions with your dental team so that they can tailor their options to best help you have a positive experience. If there’s something you know might help you, don’t be afraid to ask to see if it is an option.
- Do your best to relax. Negative emotions affect your pain threshold.
- Bring an iPod, mp3 player etc. and headphones if listening to music relaxes you.
There are many ways we can help to reduce your anxiety and hopefully help put your dental fears to rest.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist who is accepting new patients at 1612 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH. Call 440-960-1940 to schedule your appointment. If you are anxious, we can schedule a simple exam and consultation appointment to discuss your options for comfortable treatment.