Guest Blog: How to Overcome Your Dental Phobia

Sunday 17 November 2019

Dental phobia is a common condition that affects many children, adolescents, and adults. Some may experience intense anxiety in days preceding the dental visit, visible stress or panic at the dental practice, or even low blood pressure during dental visits. However, there are ways to overcome this phobia so you can enjoy a more relaxing dentist visit.

1. Take medication if need be

Sometimes, a little bit of medication can take the edge off dental phobia. If you tend to feel oral discomfort when you visit the dentist, consider taking an over-the-counter pain medication beforehand. If you are extremely nervous, ask your dentist if they offer anti-anxiety medication before your appointment.

Some dentists provide sedation dentistry, where patients are given nitrous oxide to help them relax. This can have a number of profound benefits. Because nitrous oxide induces a sense of peace and euphoria, it not only temporarily removes your anxieties and blocks sensations of discomfort, but it can also help you build positive memories around the dental surgery.

2. Take your time to prepare for treatments

Take your time to build a positive relationship with your dentist and to overcome your fear. These things don’t always happen overnight, but there are several ways by which you can work to decrease your anxiety.

Take your time before your appointment. Seek out a dentist who understands dental phobia and is willing to work with you. Ask your family and friends for dentist recommendations.  Try not to be in a rush on the day of your appointment.

If possible, relax beforehand and take some time to prepare yourself mentally. However, it’s also helpful to pick an appointment time earlier in the day, so you have less of an opportunity to dwell on the upcoming dental visit.

3. Practice breathing exercises

Before you begin your treatment, ask your dentist if they can give you advice on breathing techniques to help you remain calm during your appointment. Before your appointment, remember to breathe deeply and into your belly. Diaphragmatic breathing is a popular meditation and relaxation technique that helps dispel stress and promote a sense of groundedness and calm.

4. Visit your dentist regularly

To reduce the extent of your dental phobia, try to visit the dentist regularly. Going for long periods between visits can increase your anxiety, as the dentist will feel even more unfamiliar. However, if you regularly visit a dental practice, you will begin to build a relationship with your dentist and start to feel a level of trust. While the idea of regular dental visits may seem intimidating, it is one of the best ways to lessen your dental phobia.

5. Understand dental procedures

Another way to lessen your dental phobia is to understand different dental procedures. If you have to get a filling, for instance, educate yourself on what the treatment entails. If you are ever uncertain about a step of a procedure while visiting your dentist, ask about it. Sometimes, knowing what’s coming next in a dental procedure can take the edge off your anxiety and help you feel much more comfortable.

6. Talk with the practice staff

If you’re ever curious about how to prepare for your next dental appointment, talk to the practice staff. They can help you understand the particulars of each treatment and how to plan and prepare beforehand. In addition, speaking to the staff as you’re searching for a dentist can help you determine if the practice is a good fit for you.

7. Be frank with your dentist about your anxieties

There’s no shame in experiencing dental phobia. Be frank with your dentist about your anxieties. Once you are, you may find that your dentist can offer support and advice that is unique to your specific concerns. For example, a hand signal that means ‘pause treatment’ and allows you to regroup before you complete the rest of a dental procedure, using IV sedation to overcome a severe gag reflex.

It’s just as essential, to be frank with a potential new dentist about your anxieties as it is with a dentist whom you’ve known for years. Being frank with a new dentist can help you determine if they would be a supportive fit for you.

Final thoughts

While dental phobia is a common form of anxiety, it’s also possible to overcome your fears. Take it one step at a time, find a supportive dentist, and remember that you can be open about your concerns as well as your questions. A suitable dentist can offer supportive treatment options to help improve both your dental health and your mental well-being when it comes to dental anxiety.

Disclaimer: This article is contributed by a Guest Blogger. Ping of Health does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this article. Ping of Health disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.