How to Beat Your Dental Phobia
Before going to your dentist, a certain degree of apprehension is normal. However, if your anxiety is affecting your health and preventing you from visiting your dentist, you could be experiencing dental phobia. Dental phobia is an intense feeling of dread or fear. People who have dental phobia are panic-stricken, and they can do anything to avoid going to the dentist and getting treatments.
Typically, a dental phobic will visit their dentist and seek treatment only when their condition gets overwhelming. Dental phobia results in poor oral health and also affect your well-being. In fact, it can end up paving way for self-doubt, low self-esteem or other health problems. Here are some tips on how you can beat your dental phobia:
Recognise Your Fears
For you to understand your feelings better and address them, you’ll have to accept and deal with your fear or anxiety of visiting your dentist. Write down all your fears, so that you can be able to talk about them better. Doing this will help you recognise them and also help your dentist to explain what is causing your phobia and help you to deal with it.
Look for the Right Dentist
The most important part of beating your dental phobia is finding the right dental centre to work with. Ask your friends and family for recommendations or look up local listings. Look for a dentist who is accommodating and easy to talk to. The right dentist is going to offer you assurance through a good understanding of your dental phobia and won’t make you feel judged.
Talk About Your Dental Phobia
The foundation of a good relationship is communication. Before you even set an appointment with your dentist, it is best that you are frank about your anxiety, fears and apprehensions. This way, you are giving your dentist a way of gauging your situation, and they can tailor an action plan that’s suited for your needs. Dentists would devise signals and cues if you feel like you want to stop the treatment or need breaks if you get uncomfortable.
Look for Ways to Gradually Reduce Your Dental Phobia
For people with dental phobia, visits shouldn’t only be about getting the procedure done, instead, it should be all about creating a great experience, so that any anxiety or fear can be reduced. If you find the right dentist, they won’t rush into treatment if you are not comfortable.
As you work with your dentist, try to start with milder treatments. This will help you to ease into sitting on the dental chair and also having your dentist check inside your mouth. Once you are ready, you can now proceed with treatments that are more advanced.
Distract Yourself with Music
You can distract yourself with music by listening to your favourite songs. You can do this in the waiting room plus in the dental chair in most of the surgeries while receiving treatment. Anticipation often starts building in the waiting room, so that is a perfect time to listen to music to take your mind to a calmer place.
Take It out on the Stress Ball
When you are feeling immense stress, you need to have a way of releasing it. Imagine you are taking that force of anxiety you often feel during a dental treatment and then you push it all out through a tight squeeze of a stress ball. It is a simple tool, but it’s an effective technique for many odontophobia sufferers.
Your senses are crucial to how you’ll overcome your dental phobia. To take a spiritual stand on dental phobia, focus everything on your environment. Take your mind, then put your thoughts on the environment that you are in instead of the situation.
As you are sitting in the dentist chair, start feeling its firmness. Feel your weight on that chair and the air as it touches your skin. Listen to the absence of sound or the surrounding sounds. Before long, you will realise that when you concentrate on these external factors, you’ll be taken to a trance-like state, moving your thoughts completely away from the ongoing dental procedure.
Once you have managed to overcome your dental phobia, or you have made milestones such as finishing your dental treatment, you can reward yourself. For instance, you can buy something nice or even do something fun. Doing this will help you relate your dental visits and treatments with fun activities.