Do you suffer from fear of the dentist?
You are not alone. Approx 10% of the UK population have a fear of the dentist.
The three top fears are as follows:-
Fear of the dentist and receiving dental care can also be referred to as odontophobia, dentophobia, dentist phobia, and dental anxiety.
Dental phobia must be tackled head on. Our oral care is vital for health and wellbeing. So below are some tips for help with the fear of the dentist.
I am one of those people who are terrified of the dentist. I believe it may have come from when I was younger and had to go to the dentist many times . I never liked going to the dentist and it would take twice as long as normal as I used to always ask them to stop as the pain was really bad.
This fear as continued into my adult life and I have often stopped going to the dentist until absolutely necessary.. That was until a few months ago when I n found a fantastic dentist who is patient, caring and understanding.
Top tips on finding a good dentist
Get a good recommendation – I found my dentist by checking a websites for my local area. I was given 4 good recommendations and went round to visit each of them and the one I got a ‘good feel for’ was the one I eventually registered with. He is fantastic and so understanding!
At each dentist I visited I had a good look around and spoke to the receptionist about my fears. I did not at each stage meet the dentist (busy doing ‘dental’ work obviously!).
Why not ask family and friends also what they think of their dentist.
You can also google dentists in your local area and often you will find comments from people – this again can help you make up your mind.
Making your first appointment – When I made my first appointment I stressed to the receptionist that I was (and still am) a very nervous patient. She did put that on the notes so that when I had my first consultation with the dentist he was aware of how nervous I was. In fact it took me a month to actually pluck up the courage to book the first appointment!
Make sure on your first appointment that it is very early in the day – that way you do not have all day to worry and think about it. Getting it over and done with first thing is a great feeling. Likewise if you require further treatment again try to make that appointment first thing in the morning.
The first appointment will generally be a simple check up with x-rays (if necessary). You will most likely also be given advise on good oral treatment and the dentist will discuss the next stages of what will be required. Please note at your first visit the dentist will not start by doing any fillings so you can be safe in the knowledge that you will not be faced with needles, injections or a drill. Your first visit will also give you a good change to speak to your dentist and inform him of any fears you have. Dentists know we are all nervous and will take time to explain future procedures. Building up a good relationship with your dentist is vital – especially as you may be visiting him several times (and at least twice a year for check ups)
If you are very nervous why not take a friend with you to the appointment. The dentist will totally understand if you wish to have someone by your side when receiving treatment. You may be so worried you may forget what they are saying and at least the friend can confirm afterwards.
Treatment– When treatment is about to start mention to the dentist that if you are feeling any pain you will give him a sign to stop for a few moments. This can be simple thumbs up. That way the dentist can stop as soon as is convenient and you will feel you are in control and at ease.
If you think it will help, start gradually with a clean and polish then work up to more extensive treatment once you’ve built up trust and rapport with your dentist.
Relaxation – Generally most dentists have gentle music playing int he background. usually a radio on fairly low. Perhaps you may want to bring your Ipod (or similar music device)_ you so you can listen to you favourite music while the treatment is progressing and this can also aid your relaxation. Maybe even have some relaxation music downloaded.
Practice breathing techniques – If you are stressed try controlled breathing (I use this technique while at the dentist). Controlled breathing will relax your body and the focus will shift onto other things in order to preoccupy your mind. By doing this you will certainly be able to avoid a lot of stress and discomfort. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. You will start to feel in control. Breathe through your nose and count to three – then breathe out for three seconds . This technique is particularly useful as it also overcomes the breathing issues many of us feel when things are in our mouth.
Different relaxation and distraction techniques work for different people so try to find something that will work well for you
I hope these few tips will help you when you next visit the dentist.