At some point in your life, you’ve probably worried about visiting the dentist. It’s probably when you think there’s something wrong with your teeth. However, there are some people that are afraid of visiting the dentist at any time and will put off or avoid visiting for as long as possible. Fortunately, it is possible to overcome your fear of dentist; you simply need to take small steps and be a little bit brave!
Step 1: Find a Dentist
Whether it is a West Pennant Hills dentist or another dentist in Sydney or Brisbane, you need to find one who you can trust to be sensitive about your anxiety. Most dentists will have some experience with the conditon as it is estimated that one in seven adult Australians are afraid of visiting the dentist.
Even if you’re afraid of visiting the dentist, speak to friends and family about which professional they use and who they think will be sympathetic to your fear of dentist. You can also check out online reviews about the dental organization before going there.
Step 2: Visit but Don’t Have a Check-Up
Research suggests that part of the fear of dentist is worry about the unknown. It is, therefore, a great idea to visit your chosen dentist with a friend. Assuming they don’t have a dental phobia, they can go see the dentist for a check-up and you can simply watch the process. Sit through it without any dental work being done to you.
Hopefully this process will help reassure you that the procedures are harmless and the dentist is friendly. This experience will also help you to become familiar with the building, including where the office is located and how to sign in at the reception desk. These things can remove a lot of the anxiety of the unknown.
Step 3: Distraction
Now it’s time to schedule your own appointment. Make sure the fear of dentist is known to the professional you will go see. Giving them the heads up about the anxiety allows them to put in place anything they think will make the visit easier for you. You may even want a preliminary exam and a follow up a week or two later to feel more comfortable.
When you’re in the chair, try to distract yourself from the thought that you’re afraid of visiting the dentist. This may mean looking around the room or keeping your eyes closed during the exam. Find whatever works best for you. Even create a story in your head about the dentist and their assistant!
Step 4: Afraid of Visiting the Dentist? Try to Relax
The thought of going is often worse than actually being there. This is when your anxiety can peak and prevent you from even getting to the dental office. The best approach is to learn some breathing techniques. These exercises can help you focus on something else and reduce the amount of tension in your body. You can even do them while the dentist examines you in the chair.
Step 5: Sedatives and Fear of Dentist
If it still seems impossible to go through with the examination, then you might talk with your dentist about taking some light sedatives. They can help take the edge off of your anxiety to help you allow the dentist to do their job. Ideally this isn’t something to use every visit. A good dentist will give you less and less each time until you don’t need any.
With small steps and being both kind and patient with yourself, getting over the fear of dentist is doable. Will there be tougher days than others? Probably. But your dental health is important and you’re a fighter. Being scared to visit the dentist is something you can conquer!