It’s no secret that a lot of people dread going to the dentist. However, for some of us, an upcoming trip to the dentist causes constant anxiety and fear. We stress about what could happen while we are there – we are terrified of getting a bad diagnosis. Every time our upcoming dental appointment crosses our minds, our stomachs do a flip.
In the UK, one in four people, that’s a quarter of the population, are terrified of seeing the dentist. Dental fear means different things to different people. While some of us are scared of even opening our mouths, other people’s fear stems from the idea that treatment will hurt. The good news is that many dentists are well equipped to deal with dental fear and will do anything that they can to make it easier to deal with.
If you suffer from dental anxiety, you may avoid going to the dentist altogether. It might be scary going to see the dentist, but if you care about your teeth, you need to step outside your comfort zone and do it.
To help you with this, here are a few ideas for coping with dental anxiety:
Explain that you have dental anxiety
When you call to make your appointment, make sure to tell the receptionist that you suffer from dental fear. This is important because they will pop this on your notes so that the dentist is aware of this.
Book an appointment for as early as possible
When you call to make your appointment, ask for the earliest appointment possible. If you book a slot for later in the day, you will end up spending the entire day obsessing about it and making yourself more stressed out.
By choosing to have an appointment early in the morning, you will have less time to worry. You can get up, clean your teeth and go to your appointment, without having time to stress. Plus, by having the appointment early in the morning, you will have less time to consider not going.
Ask for a slightly longer appointment
By asking for a slightly longer than usual appointment, if there are any problems with your teeth, you can get them dealt with there and then. This might seem like a scary concept, but it’s much better than having to book another appointment.
If you suffer from dental fear, you may not be able to cope with the idea of returning for treatment. That’s why, it’s best to get anything done there and then so that you don’t have to worry about it.
Discuss your options
If you do need work doing on your teeth, such as a cavity that needs filling, try not to panic. There are lots of options for treating decay, so it’s important to remain calm and listen to what the dentist has to say.
The most common fear in terms of dentistry is fear of the injection that is used to numb the mouth before a procedure. If you are scared of this, you can have numbing gel applied to the area so that you don’t feel the shot, or you can be sedated. Many dentists offer sedation for patients with dental anxiety as a way of making treatment easier.
Dental anxiety can have a big impact on how well you take care of your teeth. If you don’t visit a dentist regularly, it can lead to lots of oral health problems. It might be scary going to see a dentist, but with the coping methods mentioned above, you can make it easier for yourself.