If you are nervous, or even downright afraid to visit your dentist, you are not alone. Millions of people suffer from a fear of going to the dentist, and this fear keeps a lot of people from receiving the dental care that they really need. Not having proper dental care not only can lead to tooth loss, but it can also lead to numerous other health problems. If you are a dental coward, read on to learn more about how you can overcome your fears and get the dental care that your teeth need.
Recognize Your Fears
The first thing you need to do is recognize what your actual fears are. Are you afraid of the sound of the drill? Are you afraid of needles? Is it the atmosphere in the office that makes you anxious? Make a list of everything that you are afraid of about going to the dentist. Not only does this help you to figure out what it is you are really afraid of, it also makes it easier for you to explain your fears to your dentist so you can work together.
Choose the Right Dentist for You
Not every dentist is right for every person. Sometimes, you need to contact a number of dentists and actually interview them to find out if they specialize in treating patients who have dental fears. Some even advertise that they specialize in dental cowards, so you know immediately that they are worth talking to. Those who specialize in treating people with dental fears often use plastic instead of metal tools (to avoid the scraping sounds), drill-less fillings, and various types of anesthesia to help calm patients.
Talk to Your Dentist
“Your dentist will never know just how terrified you are until you talk to them and explain your fears. The more they know about your fears, the better able they will be to ensure that you have an experience that is not going to cause any anxiety or fear. Most dentists will stop and let you take a break if you are feeling anxious or uncomfortable, especially if you have already discussed your fears with them,” says Dr. Ella Dekhtyar from Broadway Family Dental.
Ask about Sedation
Sedation dentistry is becoming more and more popular with many dentists, because it is bringing more patients in to take care of their teeth. Think about it. If you are going to be sedated, you aren’t really going to care what is going on around you. Sedation can range from mild nerve relaxers to being put under total anesthesia and being completely asleep during a dental procedure.
Learn about Dental Tools and Procedures
Your dentist shouldn’t mind answering all of your questions, including what each tool is used for. The more you know about the tools and the various procedures, the less likely you are to be afraid, because you will know what to expect. When it comes to going to the dentist, it is often the anticipation that is a lot worse than the actual experience. When you have a complete understanding of what is going to take place, you are probably not going to be nearly as anxious about going to the dentist.
Bring a Friend
Some people find that they cope much better with their dental appointments if they bring a friend or family member along with them. Obviously, the person you bring along must be someone who does not share your dental fear, because you need someone who is going to be supportive and not go as weak in the knees as you would. Also, if you require dental surgery and anesthesia, they are able to speak for you when you cannot, and be your ride home, because you will not be able to drive.