Are you afraid of going to the dentist? Some people simply schedule their appointment and go get it over with without a second thought! However; if you’re someone who will put off an appointment until the absolute last second, and when you finally do schedule one you dread it for weeks? You may have a dental phobia.
Well you aren’t alone. Up to 75% of people have a slight feeling of fear about dental visits! And more severe, afflicting anywhere from 9-20% of the population, are the people who avoid the dentist unless absolutely necessary.
The good news is, there are some things you can do to help ease your dental anxiety.
Bring someone with you
A familiar face, such as a close friend or relative, in the room can do a lot to ease your troubled nerves. Having someone to talk to will keep you from dwelling on your fears and keep you distracted. Make sure it’s someone who knows how you feel about the dentist, and has no fear of the dentist themselves. You don’t want to bring someone along only to have them say “I’m terrified of the dentist! I can’t stand the drill!” That’s not going to help very much.
Distract yourself in the chair
Most dentists allow you to wear headphones while they’re working on your teeth, so take advantage of it! You can listen to some music, although don’t put anything too familiar on – you may find yourself tuning it out. Comedy albums help a lot as well – not only do they give you something else to focus on, they’ll amuse you! Another good option are audiobooks. Pick something new and just let the novel take you someplace far away from the dentist’s office.
Talk with your dentist
A lot of people’s fear stems from simply not understanding what happens in the chair, or that they feel a lack of control. Take the time to talk with your dentist about their process! Let them know that you have this fear. They can walk you through everything so you know exactly what’s about to happen. You can also ask them to check with you frequently on whether you can continue or if you need to take a break.
The most important thing you can do is be upfront with your dentist about it. Don’t wait until you’re in the chair and on the verge of the panic attack to say something. Be honest! It’s very common, and your dentist should be more than happy to accommodate whatever requests you have to help you through the experience.