Dental Fears, Being Afraid of the Dentist

Dental Office Sign So you have that dreaded dentist appointment coming up, you’ve avoided hitting the chair for two years (just kidding maybe, five or six, but you are too ashamed to admit it.) It’s the sound of the drill hitting your teeth. Your neighbor’s cousin’s brother had the worst experience of his life and you don’t want that to be you. Well before you freak out and let that wild imagination get the best of you, we have some ways to cooling your engine and allowing you to have a positive dental experience, after all we are here to help, not hurt you.

Like the great man Franklin D. Roosevelt once said. “You have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” And though he may not have meant it in the same context used here. He is right. Here are some things for starters, that may have you all worked up:

  • Fear of pain. Fear of pain is a very common reason for avoiding the dentist. This fear usually stems from an early dental experience that was unpleasant or painful or from dental “pain and horror” stories told by others. Thanks to the many advances iDental Tray with Instrumentsn dentistry made over the years, most of today’s dental procedures are considerably less painful or even pain-free.
  • Fear of injections or fear the injection won’t work. Many people are terrified of needles, especially when inserted into their mouth. Beyond this fear, others fear that the anesthesia hasn’t yet taken effect or wasn’t a large enough dose to eliminate any pain before the dental procedure begins.
  • Fear of anesthetic side effects. Some people fear the potential side effects of anesthesia such as dizziness, feeling faint, or nausea. Others don’t like the numbness or “fat lip” associated with local anesthetics.
  • Feelings of helplessness and loss of control. It’s common for people to feel these emotions considering the situation — sitting in a dental chair with your mouth wide open, unable to see what’s going on.
  • Embarrassment and loss of personal space. Many people feel uncomfortable about the physical closeness of the dentist or hygienist to their face. Others may feel self-conscious about the appearance of their teeth or possible mouth odors.

 

Now that you may have been able to identify the type of fear you hold, I will now present you with ways to redirect your terrors and trembles to benefit you and your dentist!

 

Dentists often adapt approaches from children’s dentistry when helping adult phobic patients. And although they were originally invented with children in mind, there’s nothing childish about them. There are numerous tricks used to deceive the mind. Some I am going to go over are tactics that may be used on you. (Do not worry; it’s for your own good.)

Body Language: a calm, unthreatening approach as the dentist, assistant, or hygienist enDental Office - Snow in Juneters the room is a great way to start. A welcoming arrival, some guidance in what to expect, and reassurance that your experience is going to be a positive one. Focusing on the already positive aspect of your process is a great way to ease your brain of frantic worries of dental horror stories. (Remember your dentist wants your experience to reflect his or her work, no one wants to visit a doctor that doesn’t take good care of their patients.)

Interactive Approaches: Tell-Show-DO! Sometimes a “head-on” approach works best. You hear “root canal” and think “ahhh chainsaw to the mouth”, umm.. no, not quite. It is nice for some, if they can visually understand what is going on. Giving patients the details of a process can have a relaxing affect on them. (Knowledge is power!)

Environmental Distractions:  It’s nice if instruments have already been prepped and covered, before you are eased back into the chair, secretly planning your escape route. Some offices have pictures or achievements on the walls, that may help redirect your attention. Our office specifically overlooks a prestigious golf course, along with a view of the one and only Continental Divide. With your peripherals set looking out the window, you can check out of reality for a few and into the great outdoors.

Just Breathe: Oh my! Who knew that just simply breathing would bring you out of panic mode and into relaxing state? Focus on taking slow deep breaths to calm your nerves. Inhale through your nose and exhale nice and slowly through your mouth.  (Breathing is a basic necessity to living. I hear everyone is doing it these days.) Bring that breath to the top of your head and carry it down to the bottom of your spine. Slow. Focus. Peace. Your appointment will be over before you even know it.

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “Dental Fears, Being Afraid of the Dentist”

  1. Caitlyn Bell says:

    This was an awesome piece of info you wrote there. I actually couldn’t leave your blog without reading each and every words of your blog. Keep up the good work.

  2. Pepper says:

    pepper

    Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m inspired!