Dentophobia is a genuine phobia used to describe an extreme fear of dentists. Were talking hide under the table, shaking-in-the closet fear. It’s rare but it exists. It’s more likely that if you have dental anxiety that you have a fear, or a strong dislike of dentists. You could have had a bad visit as a kid, some pain or discomfort, or you’re really scared that you’re going to get bad news. It’s also possible that you just dislike the whole experience, the noise, the chair, the lights – all of these things take you out of your comfort zone. We get it. The problem is oral health is too important to avoid because of being uncomfortable.
We know we’ve all got to be brave and face our fears and do it anyway, but it can be hard, right? So, we’ve put together a few tips to help with your next trip to the dentist.
1. Exposure therapy
Sounds fancy doesn’t it? It’s really just about visiting the dentist regularly, not for treatment, but gradually becoming more comfortable with the clinic. Calling in, sitting in the chair, talking to the staff, the dentist, looking at the equipment until you’re comfortable enough to make a full appointment.
2. Noise cancelling headphones
These can drown out the sound of the drill. You can listen to some music or some calming sounds of the ocean.
3. Get a friend to go with you.
Choose someone who makes you laugh!
If you have to get significant work done, many dentists are open to sedation. Talk to your dentist about options.
5. Deep breathing techniques.
Try a simple box breath of 4 counts in. Hold 4 counts. 4 counts out.
6. Anti-anxiety medication.
It works for some people, it might work for you.
7. Find the right dentist for you, shop around.
Find someone that you’re comfortable with and who understands your fears.
Your mouth needs your care and attention. You can’t avoid a dentist forever. Find a dentist that you can talk to and take it one step at a time. Good luck!
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