Got Dental Phobia? How To Get Over It For Good
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Do you have nightmares every time you think about visiting the dentist? If do, then you may have what is known as a dental phobia. Believe it or not, it is very common to have a fear of the dentist. In fact, it is such a regular thing about individuals that it has its very own Latin name – odontophobia – and it impacts roughly 15 percent of Americans, which is an estimated 30 million individuals.
In the U.S., about 75 percent of adults have some level of fear when it comes to the dentist. However, only five to 10 percent have true dental phobia, which is a fear that is so extreme that it keeps them from going to the dentist. This keeps individuals from receiving the dental care and treatment that they need, which leads to the development of dental problems. In many cases, it can lead to the need to an emergency procedure, which causes an even more severe dental phobia.
The good news is that it is possible to end your dental phobia and get your dental health in check. Here are seven things that can assist you in doing just that:
#1: Inform Your Dentist of Your Fears.
Individuals with dental anxiety are often embarrassed – and they are often so embarrassed that they don’t want to tell their dentist about their fears. However, you will not be the first patient that the dentist has encountered with a fear of the dentist. It is important that you inform your dentist about your fears so that they can take suitable steps to ensure that you are comfortable.
#2: Get to Know the Dentist.
One of the most common things that frighten people the most about the dentist is having someone looming over them with a mask over their face. However, it is just a regular person underneath that mask. To help get over being scared of that masked face, the best thing you can do is to sit down and get to know the dentist. See if you can schedule an appointment to have a sit-down with the dentist. You can meet him or her, discuss your dental anxiety and fears, and simply get to know a few things about him or her. In the end, this will help you feel a lot more comfortable and at ease when you see them with a medical mask over their face.
#3: Get Familiar with the Dental Tools.
Most people are afraid of sharp and pointy tools, especially if they’re going to be going into your mouth! So, prior to your procedure, ask the dental assistant and/or dentist if you could hold the tools that will be used. You can even ask what each one is used for. If you would like to familiarize yourself ahead of your appointment, you can learn about the various types of dental tools online.
#4: Set Up a Signal.
Before your dental procedure begins, it is important that you and your dentist (and the dental assistant) establish a “safe” signal that will alert him or her to stop performing immediately. This signal may be something like raising your hand. Having this type of communication signal in place in the event that you get overly uncomfortable and need a short break will do wonders at calming your anxiety.
#5: Request a Chair Adjustment.
When you have an extreme fear of the dentist, you probably aren’t going to like being fully reclined in the dentist’s chair. This could make you feel like you have no control over the situation and feel completely helpless. So, to help avoid these feelings, you may ask if there is any way to only recline your chair partially so that you are still sitting halfway up. This will help you to feel like you are still somewhat in control of the situation and ease some of your fears. However, keep in mind that it is still important for the dentist to be able to see into your mouth, so make sure that you work with the dentist in whatever way he or she asks you to if your dentist does accommodate your chair request.
#6: Remember Things Are Different Now.
It is important that you keep in mind that things are a lot different now than they were when you were a kid. While you may have had a traumatizing dental experience when you were a kid, it could have been a result of a lack of dental technology. There have been a lot of advancements in technology over the years, especially in pain-free dentistry, and there are new products and procedures being developed every single day. So, the procedure that you are so scared of may not even be performed any longer.
#7: Consider Seeing a Professional.
In the event that your dental phobia is extremely severe, you may want to consider seeking help from a professional. There is nothing at all wrong with talking to a therapist, who may be able to help identify the root cause of your dental fears and educate you on specific ways on handling your anxiety.
If you have a fear of the dentist, take some time to learn about Fountain of Youth Dental’s team and services. We have dealt with previous patients who have feared going to the dentist and ended up looking forward to returning to our office for future dental work to maintain their oral hygiene. When you decide that you are ready to take the step toward getting on track with your oral health, which we understand is a big step, reach out to us and we will do everything we can to accommodate you here at Fountain of Youth Dental.