There’s a lot more going on in your mouth than you probably give credit for. Many people say that the first thing they’ll notice about someone is their smile and that means you shouldn’t overlook keeping yours in the top shape. Still, that is easier said than done. Even if you have the best cosmetic dentist in the world, you might struggle with dentist phobia. Dentist phobia is an extremely common fear that leaves patients anxious about visiting their cosmetic dental clinic. So in order to help assuage your fears and combat that prevailing phobia we’ve put together 9 tips to help overcome your fear and keep your smile gleaming and clean.
Inform your dentist about your fear.
They say that education is the cure to ignorance and the same can be said of alleviating your phobia. Before you schedule an appointment with your dentist you should give them a call or even come in for a quick 1 on 1 to discuss your phobia. Believe it or not, most dentist cosmetic professionals know that they aren’t exactly in a popular profession. Having your dentist understand your phobia will go a long way toward creating a comfortable experience. With the dentist taking extra precautions to help you out, you should quickly find yourself more comfortable. In the event that your dentist isn’t amenable to you detailing your fears then this is a clear sign that you need to find yourself a different dentist. a dentist’s bedside manor is very important to a professional relationship.
Bring ear plugs to to shut out the noise.
If you took a poll as to why most people find themselves afraid at the dental office then you’ll see one reason consistently crop up: the dental tools. More specifically, the sound of the dental tools in action can be a giant trigger to people who are already on edge about their visit. From the drilling sounds to the scraping effects on your teeth, many people with dental phobias can be put on edge rather quickly. For this tip we strongly suggest a patient bring in a pair of small ear plugs to wear during their procedure. Make sure that you let your dentist know, in case they need to remove them to ask a question, and then rest back in relaxation. You won’t erase all of the sound but you’ll greatly dampen it in order to be more comfortable.
Write down your specific fears.
We’ll hammer on this subject repeatedly but the importance of education can’t be understated and this is especially true in regards to your dentist phobia. If you know that you have a true dentist phobia then you should take some time to write out all of the reasons as to why you are afraid. Once you put some thought into why you host the fear you will begin to see how miniscule the fear actually is. If your phobia is truly problematic then you can even bring your list of fears in with you when you decide to schedule your next appointment. This will give your dentist something to work off of as he or she tries to make your procedure as painless as possible.
Become informed on the procedure you’re having done.
The fear of the unknown can be the greatest hurdle to jump when you are struggling with a phobia. That’s why you should take some time to learn about any procedures that you might have done. Feel comfortable to ask as many questions as you want to the dentist or the dental assistant and take any little notes that you want. You can also go on the internet to look up your procedure in order to get a more complete idea of what will happen. Often times you will find message boards with people talking about their own experiences and these will usually make you feel comfortable as well.
Create positive associations with your dentist visits.
It’s hard to have a good day when you have to visit the local dentistry cosmetic office and that in and of itself probably helps to reinforce phobias. So what you can do in order to help assuage some of your fears is simple: create positive associations with your dental visits. For example, you can start getting into the habit of treating yourself after you go to the dentist. if you just have a simple cleaning, perhaps go for a nice walk afterwards or spend an extra couple dollars to go see a movie afterwards. You want to initiate a sort of Pavlov like response that has you expecting a reward after your visits rather than simply fearing them or stressing them going into the visit.
Request anxiety relieving medications.
If you don’t take any medications for anxiety then you can request some from your dentist when you go in for your visit. Many dental offices will have nitrous oxide on hand to relax you as well as a number of other stress relieving medications. In these instances you may want to ensure that you have a ride to take you home in case the medication does not wear off quick enough. While some people want to use as few drugs as possible in their medical visits, this could be a good time to break free of that opinion. Dental medications for anxiety work quickly and wear off after the procedure in a good amount of time. In either case, if you do take medication before you visit your dentist then you will want to inform them. Some medications don’t get along with one another and your dentist will be a professional and have alternatives on hand.
Learn deep breathing techniques.
If you truly are opposed to any sort of anxiety relieving medication then you can instead learn some other simple relaxation techniques. You obviously won’t have time to meditate while in the waiting room, and you might look silly if you did, so opt instead to practice some deep breathing techniques. This is a time tested method that will keep you focused inward, rather than toward your phobia. There are a variety of deep breathing methods out there but the simplest one is this: Take a deep, long breath while thinking of something positive before releasing it in a slow, controlled exhale. Repeat this for as long as necessary in order to calm yourself down. With enough practice you can quickly use this method in a number of different situations where your anxiety or stress might start to get to you.
Arrive to your visit ahead of time.
If you really want to put your phobia on full display then try showing up to an appointment while running late. By the time you check in you’ll feel like you are already getting called to sit back in the chair. For some people this quick turn around works wonders, for others it creates even bigger problems. For some people the cure to their phobia can all come down to showing up to their appointment early. Get there ahead of time, fill out paperwork, and then go to the waiting area. Think of any questions you might have, put on calming music in your ear phones, and try to focus on something else for a little while. Ideally by the time your name is called you will have found some inner peace and this will in turn have you more than ready to get your appointment over with.
Be picky when choosing your dentist.
Many people are afraid of their dentist because they don’t really see them as ‘people’. Instead they see their professional dentist as an ominous figure who is ready to loom over them to perform scary work on their mouth — terrifying, right? Well, it doesn’t need to be. Patients should understand that they are in full control of their visit and this takes strongest shape in the form of selecting the dentist. There is nothing wrong with shopping around for the perfect dentist who takes your insurance and makes you feel comfortable. In order to accomplish this you can ask your friends or family member for a referral or you can dig in and do some research on the internet. Either way, don’t settle until you find a dentist that makes you comfortable.