Going to the dentist can be a very scary and anxiety-inducing process. In fact, the vast majority of Americans report to express some level of fear of the dentist. The reasons for this are many and varied, but these fears are nothing that cannot be overcome. Here are a few ways of overcoming your fear of the dentist.
1. Be up-front and ask questions
It is your right to ask questions about your dental care. The fear of the unknown is one of the most prominent reasons that people are afraid of anything, especially the dentist, and simply asking your dentist what exactly he or she will be doing during whatever procedure you are about to undergo can help quell your fears about said procedure.
2. Use a safe signal
Let your dentist know that you wish to enact a safe signal so that you may signal him or her to stop the procedure at any time, just in case you feel uncomfortable and wish for the procedure to be halted for a moment. Bear in mind that you may never actually use this signal; it is simply helpful to have in place for your own mental wellbeing. If you know that you can get the dentist to stop at any point, you may be more comfortable with the procedure continuing. Make sure this signal is one made with your hands, as you may not be able to speak during the dental procedure.
3. Make dentist visits a regular occurrence
This tip goes right along with the fear of the unknown. If you aren’t used to going to the dentist, then going to the dentist will be a more unfamiliar experience, and unfamiliar experiences, or at least the possibility of them, can breed fear. Visiting the dentist often is beneficial for a few reasons. First of all, you can keep your teeth clean and healthy, which may actually reduce your need to go to the dentist. However, there is another benefit that dentists don’t always publicize. Going to the dentist will familiarize you with the office and with the procedures you may need to undergo. Familiarity kills fear, and visiting the dentist’s office and becoming familiar with it is the perfect way to kill your fear of going to the dentist.
4. Breathe and relax
Even if you follow these tips, your fear of the dentist’s office may remain. Just remember to go to the dentist’s office with a clear head. Take a deep breath before going into the office, and just remind yourself that the dentist and his or her staff are professionals. You will be in good hands, and you will be back out of the office in no time.
Going to the dentist can be a scary process, but it doesn’t need to be. By developing a safe signal, visiting the dentist regularly, asking questions and simply taking a deep breath, you can go a long way toward quelling your fear of going to the dentist. Plus, you’ll have healthy teeth!