For many people, a trip to the dentist is not their idea of a good time. In fact, it is estimated that about 8% of people avoid the dentist altogether. Another estimate says that almost 20% of people dislike going to the dentist so much that they will go only when it becomes a medical necessity. What causes so many people to avoid taking care of their teeth? The answer is fear.
Fear of the dentist is a real problem that many people have. This fear can come from any number of things, but most of the time it is because of a bad experience at the dentist. This experience is most likely from when they were a child, but fear can be from other events as well.
Managing Your Fear and Anxiety
Finding a way to get past your fear of the dentist can be hard. For some, this is almost impossible, but no matter how difficult it may seem, it is a must when it comes to keeping your teeth healthy.
There are many ways to manage fear and anxiety in life. Some people use meditation or yoga, while others manage it with medication. Helping you get past whatever is keeping you from feeling comfortable at the dentist is the goal of this blog post.
Recognizing Your Fear Is The First Step. As with most things we fear, our tendency is to not acknowledge that the fear exists. This is a mistake. In order to overcome your fear of the dentist, you have to admit that it exists. The old saying that “The first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have one” is totally true in this case.
Tip – Try talking with a friend about the dentist. Ask them how they feel when they have an appointment. This will help you gauge how someone who isn’t afraid of the dentist handles the process. Don’t ask a friend who is also afraid of the dentist. This defeats the purpose.
Write Down Exactly What You’re Afraid Of. When you think about the dentist and the fear stirs inside you, do you know why? Do you know what scares you specifically? You may or may not. In any event, writing down what you are afraid of will help you to understand what about the whole process is scaring you. Whatever it is that comes to mind, write it down. There are no wrong answers here.
Tip – Just start writing. If you don’t know what to write, start with, “I am afraid of the dentist.” This will give you a jumping-off point to begin exploring the specific things that scare you about the dentist. Some things that you find out about your fear may surprise you.
Once You Figure Out What Scares You, Find Out What Caused It. This is a tricky part. Your first response may be that you have no idea what caused this fear. This part is going to take some serious thinking. Going over your past experiences with the dentist is where you should start. As hard as it is to remember, it is important that you stick with this part till you have a grasp of what caused your fear. This is important for the next step.
Tip – Talking to your parents is a good place to start if you are having issues remembering what caused your fear. A parent was most likely present for your childhood dentist’s appointments. Your parents and your childhood dentist would have been the ones who either helped ease your fears about a procedure or caused your fears. Figuring out what caused the fear is critical to getting past it.
Do A Little Research. Once you admit that you’re afraid, what you’re afraid of, and what caused that fear, you can now begin to look into why you should not be afraid now. Dental techniques are always improving. This can be said for all medical practices. The way we used to do things is not how we do them now. The process that produced your fear may may even be considered outdated by today’s dental standards. As with all things, knowledge is power.
Tip – I kind of gave away the tip in the title, but do your homework. Research how things were done when your fear was born, and see how they are done now. You may find that there is no resemblance between them. Some practices have evolved so far that earlier practitioners would not even recognize the process. An example of this is X-rays. In the past, you were exposed to much larger amounts of radiation than you are with today’s digital X-rays. In fact, the advancement of digital X-rays has significantly reduced the radiation exposure and time that it takes to get X-ray images of your mouth.
Find The Right Dentist – Finding the right dentist is critical. We here at Duffield Dentistry understand how scary the dentist can be. That is why we pride ourselves on easing your fears in our relaxing atmosphere. Duffield Dentistry offers sedation options that will help make your experience with us smooth and comfortable. The waterfall in the waiting room even has a calming effect on the mood of our patients.
We are wholly dedicated to helping you feel at ease. Call us today at 248-721-4502 to find out more about relieving your dental anxiety. We are waiting to help.