If you’re living with dental pain out of fear or embarrassment about going to the dentist, you’re not alone. Dental phobia is a genuine problem affecting more of the population than you might expect.
A fear of the dentist could come on at any stage in life. You may have always been nervous about getting in the dentist’s chair as a child, and you may have carried the fear with you through the years. Or, you may have had a negative experience which has made you scared since.
Whatever the cause, there may be times when you need essential dental care, particularly if we haven’t seen you for a checkup for a long time. We understand that the idea of coming for an appointment might fill you with dread, but we’re here to help.
In this guide, we’ll discuss dental phobia and how we can help you overcome your anxieties and get the treatment you need.
Dental phobia refers to any fear or anxiety associated with going for a dental checkup or receiving any form of treatment. The phobia or anxiety may centre around worries that treatment will cause you pain or discomfort, you may have concerns about feeling a lack of control, or it may relate to the smells and sensations associated with a dental appointment.
Some people experience mild anxiety around visiting the dentist, while for others, it can cause panic attacks.
All of these worries are perfectly normal and rational; however, it’s important to take steps to overcome these fears. There are a few things you can do, and there are ways we can help.
One thing that can go a long way to helping you fight your dental phobia is talking about your fears with us. If we know what makes you anxious, we can take steps to make adaptations.
Often, if you need a dental procedure, understanding the process we use can help you feel at ease.
Sometimes, the hardest step is coming into the clinic. Talk to us about the ways we can help you to desensitise. Visiting for short appointments without receiving treatment can help you build up confidence ahead of a procedure.
There’s no need to come alone if you’re feeling anxious. Bring a partner, friend, or family member with you to provide you comfort and support when you feel uncomfortable.
Distractions can help take your mind away from what’s going on around you. Bring some noise-cancelling headphones with you and listen to your favourite music, audiobook, or podcast.
When you’re feeling anxious, the body naturally sends more blood and oxygen to your muscles than your head. This sets your fight-or-flight instinct in motion. You can reverse this by taking long, slow breaths so your brain gets as much oxygen as possible.
Mindfulness helps you manage feelings of anxiety and remain grounded during difficult moments. There are various grounding techniques you can learn that help draw your attention away from negative thoughts while picking out details in the space around you.
If you need us to take a break at any time, we can stop. While we’re treating or examining your teeth, you may be unable to speak. At the start of the appointment, discuss a hand signal to use with us to let us know you’re feeling particularly anxious.
At Harley Private Dental, we’ve helped countless nervous patients. Our friendly and caring team are here to listen to you and support you while you get the treatment you need.
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