Around 2.1 percent of Americans suffer from dentophobia. This is more than a dislike of going to the dentist. Dentophobia involves severe anxiety and fear around getting in the chair.
For some, it prevents them from getting important dental checkups. It puts their oral health at risk.
If you can relate to this, you’re not alone. And, there are many things you can do to make visiting the dentist easier.
Ready to book your appointment? Read these tips on how to get over fear of the dentist first.
1. Find a Compassionate Dentist
Like any other profession, there are nice doctors and there are less than nice ones. If you currently have a dentist you’re not comfortable with, find a new one.
Since this phobia prevents you from getting dental care, take this research seriously. Arrange a consultation with each prospect and explain your anxiety.
A kind, compassionate dentist will be understanding of your condition. They’ll be willing to work with you on making it a safe, calm, and easy experience. Even if you haven’t seen a dentist in years, it’s never too late.
2. Be Communicative
Your dentist won’t know you’re having anxiety unless you tell them. It’s crucial that you have crystal clear communication.
Before the procedure, ask every question you have. Tell them how you’re feeling and what you’d like from them.
Work out a hand signal that you can give when you need a break. For some, the fear of not being able to communicate when dental work’s being done is scary. A hand signal restores your control.
3. Use Distractions
Of course, you’re going to feel uneasy if you focus on the drill in your mouth. By distracting yourself you can avoid feeling anxious.
Many dental offices have TV’s on the wall for you to watch. You could also bring headphones and listen to music or an audiobook.
If you prefer tactile distractions, bring a stress ball or some slime to fiddle with. You could even practice self-hypnosis or meditation.
4. Educate Yourself
Sometimes, the reason you feel nervous is the fear of the unknown. By learning everything you can about the procedure you’re getting, you reduce that fear.
Research the different steps in a dental cleaning or your specific procedure. At the appointment, ask the dentist to walk you through each step.
Consider booking a consultation before each appointment so the dentist has time to educate you fully.
5. Inquiry About Sedation
Some dental procedures can be uncomfortable or even painful. Inquire about different types of anesthesia and sedation.
Each dentist has a preference for providing these drugs. Some prefer not to sedate you but will offer local anesthesia. Especially if they’re aware of your phobia.
It never hurts to ask about your options.
Interested in More Tips on How to Get Over Fear of the Dentist?
The phobia of going to the dentist is more common than you’d think. Dentists are used to seeing patients who have anxiety about their appointment.
To tackle your dentophobia, use the tips above on how to get over fear of the dentist.
If you’re looking for a dentist in Washington, D.C., give us a call. Dupont Dental Associates comprises of a team of compassionate and experienced dentists. We will work with you to overcome your fears and improve your dental health.