Overcoming Dental Phobia
Did you know The National Institute of Mental Illness suggests that 8% of U.S. adults have some type of phobia? Among the top-rated fears, are visits to the dentist, in fact, nearly seventy-five percent of adults in the United States experience some amount of fear with regards to visiting a dentist. Of that percentage, about five to ten percent of those people have a strong enough fear to be considered sufferers of a dental phobia. Here are some tips to stay calm, according to healthline.
Tips to stay calm
Whether you’re ready to face your fear full-on or you’re getting ready for exposure therapy to gradually see the dentist, the following tips can help you stay calm during your appointment:
See the dentist at a less busy time of day, such as the morning hours. There will be fewer people, but also fewer tools making noises that could trigger your anxiety. Also, the later you see your dentist, the more time your anxieties will build up in anticipation.
Bring noise-canceling headphones or earbuds with music to help you relax.
Ask a friend or a loved one to accompany you during your appointment.
Practice deep breathing and other meditation techniques to calm your nerves.
Above all else, know that it’s OK if you need a break at any point during your visit. It can be helpful to establish a “signal” with your dentist ahead of time so they know when to stop.
You can then either continue with your visit when you’re ready, or come back another day when you feel better.
How to find the right dentist for you
Among the most important qualities of a dentist is the ability to understand your fears and aversions. You can ask your doctor or a loved one for a recommendation for a caring dentist. Another option is to call around and ask prospective offices if they specialize in working with patients who have fears or dentophobia.
Before you go in for an exam and cleaning, you may consider booking a consultation to determine whether the dentist exemplifies the type of understanding professional you need.
It’s important to be open about why you fear going to the dentist so they can be better able to put you at ease. The right dentist will take your fears seriously while also being accommodating to your needs.
The bottom line
Your oral health is an important aspect of your overall well-being. Still, this fact alone may not be enough to convince someone to go to the dentist if they have an extreme fear or phobia. At the same time, continued avoidance will only make fear of the dentist even worse.
There are numerous strategies available to cope with dentophobia. It’s also important to alert your dentist so they can accommodate you. It will take time and effort, but it’s possible to progress to a point where your fears will no longer prevent you from getting the oral care you need.
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