Let’s face it – everyone fears something. Many are scared of spiders, heights, enclosed spaces, or bodies of water they can’t see the bottom of. Unfortunately, a lot of patients fear visiting a dentist. 60% of Americans experience severe anxiety and fear associated with dentists, dental procedures, and oral pain. This leads many to avoid the dentist at all costs, that is, until a dental emergency occurs. If you’re someone who fears the dentist’s office, you have the power to overcome your dental fears and gain access to oral health and wellness. Here are 6 tips to conquer your fear of visiting a dentist:
How to Conquer Your Fear of Visiting a Dentist
1. Identify the Fear Behind the Fear
Your fear of the dentist more than likely stems from one or more smaller elements of a dental office. Ask yourself what you’re really scared of. Your true fear could revolve around triggers like needles, gagging, noises of the dental tools, getting a tooth pulled, embarrassment, or all the above. Write down any fears and triggers you can think of – you’ll need to recall them later.
2. Communicate with Your Dentist’s Office Staff
Never feel silly when sharing your concerns, fears, and triggers with your dental staff. A good dentist will appreciate the information so that they can prepare to support you in every way possible. Appointment accommodations can be made to reduce the chances of triggers and panic attacks.
3. Schedule a Visit to the Office Before Scheduling an Appointment
Eliminate fearing the unknown by visiting your dentist’s office before scheduling an appointment. An accommodating dental staff will introduce you to other employees and let you tour the office. Being familiar with your environment will help to ease your fear on the day of the “real” appointment.
4. Schedule Your Appointment Early
If possible, make your dentist’s appointment as early as possible to begin the day with. This way, you don’t have to go about your day dreading a later appointment. After a good night’s sleep and a balanced breakfast, you’ll be in the best possible mindset to face your fears.
5. Bring a Support Member
Whether it’s a friend, family member, or loved one, it’s best to bring a person of support to a dentist appointment. This way, you’ll have someone with you other than the office staff to talk to you, provide physical comfort, or just provide you with their presence.
6. Set Appointment Boundaries
When you arrive at your appointment and meet with your dentist, have a quick chat to determine a few boundaries to go by for the duration of your visit. Before any dental work begins, be sure you’ve discussed the following points:
- Agree upon a STOP signal
- Locating any helpful equipment for your benefit, such as sensory headphones or blankets
- The possibility of a gentle sedative for triggering dental work
- Any music, movies, or background noise you’d like to have playing in the background throughout your appointment
- Schedule “time out” breaks throughout the session
Visit Winn Smiles Today!
Throughout your dental journey, your needs can always be adjusted or added to depending on your comfort level. At Winn Smiles, we’re dedicated to creating a calm, comfortable atmosphere for every patient – including you! Visit an office near you to experience a worry-free experience.
Ready to take care of your teeth? Click here to make your appointment with one of our experienced local dentists!