Going to the dentist can instil fear in the calmest of people – whether it’s the worry that treatment will hurt, the sound of the drill, or the smells and memories sitting in the dentist’s chair evokes.
The good news is that although dental anxiety is a real phobia, thankfully there are things you can do to calm your nerves. Furthermore, more and more dentists now understand their patient’s fears and will make sure their patients are as calm and pain-free as possible.
Compared to the dental surgeries of yesteryear, modern dental surgeries offer welcoming environments, play background music and do all they can to foster a relaxing ambience. Advances in technology and treatment methods also means that dentistry has been improved and treatment can be virtually painless.
If you’re due to have dental treatment soon and have dental anxiety, there are several things you can do to help overcome your fears:
Know your fears
Are there specific dental related things you are frightened of? If so, write them down. This will allow you to recognise your fears and to give you a list to talk through with your dentist.
Talk to your dentist
Before you start any treatment, go through your fears list with your dentist. This enables them to understand your exact fears and make the appointment as stress-free as possible.
It is well known that controlled breathing can help make you more relaxed, and a visit to the dentist is no different. Breathing in through your nose for three seconds and out for your mouth for three seconds helps calm the nervous system which in turn helps reduce discomfort.
Use guided imagery
This involves imagining you are in a different place or going through a pleasant experience rather than being sat in a dentist’s chair. Doing this isn’t always easy, so if you’re going to use this as a distraction technique try and practice in advance.
If you neglect your dental health because you’re too frightened to visit a dentist, there are psychologists who may be able to help you through a process called systematic desensitisation to help you overcome your phobia. Other types of therapy like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can give you strategies to manage your fears and can be practiced at home.
Find the right dentist
One of the key things that will help you overcome your fears is going to a calming, friendly and knowledgeable dentist. If you’re struggling to find one, ask for recommendations from friends and family and seek out online reviews.
The next step is to give the dentist a call and book an appointment – are they friendly? And do they sound accommodating? It might also be worth mentioning you have dental anxiety to see if they have any experience in dealing with it.
At Brunswick Square Dental, we find that one of the best ways to reduce dental anxiety is for our patients is to speak openly and honestly about their fears so that we can devise a plan of action. If you’d like to take charge of your oral health and talk through any anxieties regarding dental treatment, you can call our friendly team today on: 01273 736448.