Overcoming Fear of the Dentist

If you are someone who is terrified of visiting the dentist, you are not alone. Many people deal with fear of the dentist and even extreme anxiety over upcoming appointments. Proper dental care is important for overall health, so even if someone has a fear of the dentist, they will still need to make appointments. Along with finding a good dentist that will work with you and your fears, there are other steps that can be taken to control and manage dental anxiety and dental phobias.

Common Fears When Visiting The Dentist

There are various reasons that people may fear the dentist, and being able to identify your fear is the first step in dealing with it.

Loss of Control – Some fears of the dentist come from being afraid to lose control during treatment. This could be due to a fear of being in distress, or because a person prefers to be in control of situations. If a loss of control is the issue, it can help to discuss any procedures with your dentist, in detail, ahead of time. If you know exactly what is going to be happening, what to do if you are feeling discomfort, and any other details, you may feel more comfortable giving up control and trusting your doctor.

Pain – Some people deal with pain better than others. If you have a difficult time handling pain, due to any number of reasons, fear of dental procedures can be overwhelming. If pain is causing fear of the dentist, it is important to find a dentist that is more gentle during procedures. You also want to talk to your dentist about what to do if you begin to encounter pain during a procedure. Knowing that your doctor is willing to stop and find a solution to your pain before continuing a procedure may make you more comfortable. Many dental procedures do result in some pain and discomfort but good doctors will work with a patient to minimize any pain they may experience.

Fear of Needles – Some people have a major needle phobia. This makes going to the dentist for any procedure in which needles are involved difficult. Those with a needle phobia will often encounter anxiety and some people even faint. A good dentist will make any injections gently and some will use a numbing gel prior to any injections to reduce the chances of pain. Asking your dentist to chat with you while giving you an injection may also help as it can take your mind off of what is going on.

Smells, Sights, and Sounds – Some people have such a severe dental phobia, that the smells and sounds of the dentist office is enough to trigger anxiety. Seeing the dental instruments that will be used in procedures can also trigger severe anxiety. Keeping your eyes closed during a procedure can help with sight induced anxiety. If the sounds of dental tools trigger anxiety, ask your doctor if they would mind you wearing a music player during your procedure. This can help to drown out noises that make you feel uncomfortable.

Fear of Having a Panic Attack – People that suffer from severe dental phobias are more likely to suffer from panic attacks and other anxiety induced symptoms. Some people feel embarrassed by their reactions and therefore avoid the dentist entirely. A good doctor will make you feel comfortable, even when you may be suffering symptoms of anxiety.

Overcoming Your Fears

There are many different ways of dealing with fear of the dentist. Once you have determined exactly what causes your fear, you will have an easier time dealing with it. The most important thing in dealing with dental anxiety is having a good doctor. You should seek a dental professional that makes you feel comfortable, is willing to share detailed information with you about procedures, and is willing to work with you to help you overcome your fear and anxiety. In addition to having a good dentist, items such as mp3 players, and other technological devices can help you take your mind off your procedure. In extreme cases of dental phobia, the use of a psychologist or psychiatrist may be helpful in overcoming fear and anxiety.

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