We all have things we’re scared of. Sometimes it’s spiders (yep), sometimes heights (yep, that too), and sometimes it’s something as boring as the dentist (yep, this terrifies me). The dentist is actually a massively common thing to be scared of, and I don’t even quite know why I’m personally so afraid. I definitely don’t like needles, but anytime I’ve had one; it’s been absolutely fine. I’ve never had a bad dentist experience, and I’ve found that dentists are usually super understanding to nervous patients. So why the fear?
The guys at Docklands Dental* got in touch wanting to discuss some of the things we can do to help the anxiety people sometimes have with dentists, and I think they have some amazing tips, so I wanted to share them with you guys today!
Getting over dental anxiety
Nobody would choose a trip to the dentist as a fun way to spend a morning, but for many people, the thought of sitting in that chair means far more than some inconvenience and, perhaps, slight discomfort. Almost half the adult population has a fear of the dentist, and one in eight suffer from extreme dental anxiety.
This essentially presents them with two choices. Either put themselves into a state of near panic twice a year when they go for that six monthly check up, or chicken out entirely.
According to experts at Docklands Dental in Dublin, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Most people who have an extreme fear of the dentist avoid going unless they absolutely have to – typically, this means minor problems are left to grow into major ones, and when they finally get into the chair, there is some serious, not to mention expensive, work needed, that will only serve to reinforce their phobia.
Clearly, this is not an ideal way to go about dental health, but if any of it sounds familiar to you, help is at hand. Here are five strategies to help you get over that fear. We can’t promise that dental work will ever be an enjoyable experience, but we can certainly make it a tolerable one.
1) Acknowledge your fear
If the statistics mentioned above tell you anything, it is that nobody is going to point and laugh at you for having anxiety about going to the dentist. So stop making excuses, and admit the problem to yourself and those around you. Once you get your fear into the open, you might be able to narrow down what it is all about. For example, are you afraid it will hurt, or you won’t be able to breathe?
2) Meet the man (or woman) behind the mask
The next person to tell is your dentist. If you’ve not been in ages, seek recommendations from friends, and then see if you can meet the dentist for a chat first, to explain your anxiety. A good dentist will be understanding and will help come up with some strategies to help you through your fears.
3) Bring a friend
It feels a whole lot less intimidating if you’ve got someone with you. Your dentist will have no problem about you bringing a friend or family member into the consulting room. Just make sure you choose someone who has no fear of dentists, otherwise, you will end up making each other worse!
4) Take a break
Some procedures can take a while, but slow and steady wins the race. Your dentist will be perfectly willing to pause for a break whenever you want to, so don’t be afraid to ask.
5) Embrace distraction
If you are sitting or lying there focusing on the dentist’s every move, it is not going to ease your anxiety. Some dentists have portable or ceiling mounted screens where you can watch some TV. Alternatively, take along your MP3 player and some headphones, so you can listen to music, or better still an audio book, to while away the time.
I hope this helps you guys, I know on my next trip the dentist I’ll be listening to some podcasts to help me!
*Post in collaboration with Docklands Dental
*Any items sent for review are written about 100% honestly and in my own words. Sometimes sponsored content and collaborations with brands will appear on this blog, and will always be marked as such with *. Please see my disclaimer for more info.