Overcoming Fear of The Dentist: Causes & Treatments

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Nervous about visiting the dentist? You are not the only one. Fear of the dentist is relatively common and can arise from many factors. But, as we all know, oral health is an important part of maintaining overall health. Which is why it is necessary to try to combat this fear so that you can properly manage your oral health. In fact, avoiding the dentist can lead to the need for more extensive dental procedures and can cause various dental issues to go undetected and untreated.

Fear of the dentist may come from negative personal experiences in the past, or negative stories shared from loved ones. Some may experience anxiety due to the noises from dental tools, or some may be worried about their dental condition and the procedures they may need to have performed. Others may be associating dental visits with pain. Fortunately, dental procedures today are much less invasive, and techniques are used to make you feel as comfortable as possible!

Individuals with an extreme fear may be suffering from dentophobia, leading them to avoid seeing the dentist altogether. This condition may be linked to an anxiety disorder, which may require professional help or other therapies prior to visiting the dentist.

No matter the reason for fear of the dentist, there are several ways to help overcome this fear. One of the best things you can do if you experience anxiety when visiting the dentist is to discuss your concerns and fears with your dentist. This way they can help create solutions to help you feel comfortable during all of your dental visits. In addition, requesting breaks at any point during your procedure can be helpful. Even asking your dental professionals about what is expected for your procedure can help relax your mind. Also, if you feel uncomfortable about your dental health, be comforted in knowing it is judge-free zone and your dentist will help you achieve a healthy smile.

Some dentists may recommend exposure therapy, which involves gradually over time being exposed to factors that you fear until you become comfortable. For certain procedures, your dentist may be able to provide dental anesthesia or sedation to help eliminate any pain and anxiety during treatment. Furthermore, some dental offices may provide fun distractions including music and television for your entertainment.

Other tips to help ease fears of the dentist include scheduling your appointment for less-busy hours, such as making morning appointments. Also, brining noise-canceling headphones or ear buds may help you relax. Relaxation techniques including deep breathing or medication can also help relieve your anxiety. Plus, bringing a loved one along with you to your appointment may give you peace of mind.

Although combatting dental fear will take time and effort, it is possible to eliminate your fears so that you can get the proper care to keep you healthy.

Written By: Heather Smith