Fear of the dentist keeps many people from biannual checkups, but that can also harm you in the long run if oral health problems develop. Whether you have dental anxiety or you’re the parent of a child who shows fear of visiting the dentist, let our Tampa dentists offer advice to reduce dental anxiety.
Identify Common Fears
This might seem uncomfortable – and it can be the scariest part of dental care, but try to think about what you fear most. Is it the sound of the drill? The sensations of pain? Shame over bad teeth? A feeling of embarrassment that you hate visiting the dentist so much you avoid it?
When you understand what you really fear, you can come up with ways to reduce the fear.
Choose a Trustworthy Dentist
If you have dental anxiety, you need a dentist who listens to you – someone who you trust. This dentist should never pressure you into treatment if you aren’t ready and should offer ways to reduce your fears, whether it’s sedation dentistry or listening to headphones during your checkup.
Once you’ve found a dentist you can trust, verbalize your concerns. Chances are, your dentist has worked with other patients who have similar fears.
Rationalize Your Fear
Don’t let embarrassment over these fears cause more worry. Rationalize these fear to start to destigmatize them. You may ask the dentist about the numbing creams or gels they can use, which block pain. If it’s noise, fear of needles, or embarrassment over bad teeth, ask your dentist what to expect before your appointment. It may make you feel better to know your dentist is aware of your concerns and will do everything possible to make the appointment a safe experience for you.
Don’t Tense Up
As much as possible, try to remain relaxed while at the dentist. If you tense up, you can experience greater pain and discomfort. Some people learn deep breathing or progressive relaxation techniques to stay relaxed, while others distract themselves with upbeat music or a guided meditation. Sedation may be an option to help you remain relaxed if you really hate dental visits.
Seek Professional Help
If you’ve tried all these steps and you still fear the dentist so bad that you put off visits, please seek professional help from a licensed therapist. Otherwise, you’ll be this afraid every time you visit the dentist. Delaying visits will only exacerbate oral health problems, leading to more expensive (and time-consuming) treatment methods.
Get Our Free Ebook for Fear of the Dentist
At Weninger Dentistry, we want you to trust us with all your dental fears, so we can do our best to allay them, whether it’s talking through what might happen or introducing sedation dentistry techniques. We’ve even put together a free book to help patients who hate visiting the dentist get more comfortable with dental care. To start getting over your fear of the dentist, download our free ebook today.