Fear Not the Tooth Doctor

Dental anxiety is a legitimate, serious phenomenon, and it is hardly a laughing matter for those who experience it. There are many people who cannot bring themselves to endure a dental operation or checkup of any kind any more than they can bring themselves to conquer their fears of heights with skydiving lessons. They don’t want to feel as though they’ve been thrust into an uncontrollable situation, and the very notion of dental practice is ultimately a matter of phobia. For those to whom these concerns apply, the fear is difficult to conquer rationally, but there may be some facts about the dentist that can aid you in keeping your mind at ease when that time of year comes around.

Identify the Main Fears

Those who legitimately have a sort of dental anxiety—often referred to as odontophobia or dentophobia—are likely to fixate on specific things with their fear. One of the most common fears is that going to the dentist will result in a painful experience, and in many cases, those who may fixate on this possibility could very well be reacting to a particularly painful (whether physically or emotionally) visit to the dentist in their past, perhaps in their childhood. If such is the case and the fear is rooted in a real memory, someone with dental anxiety is likely to become nervous simply when entering the office, and the smell of a dentist’s office, not to mention the sight of the tools, is likely to rile such a person up.

Lack of Control

Some can’t stand this overwhelming sense of helplessness that comes over them like a pall when they sit in “the chair.” They feel confined to the chair even without any physical straps or clamps holding them to it, and the inability to speak or effectively communicate during the process becomes especially unnerving because they already feel as though they have no control over the situation. They don’t feel they can alert anyone if something goes wrong. For that matter, the mask and gloves a dentist wears can sometimes have a dehumanizing effect on them, so there is no apparent compassion coming from the one cleaning your teeth, which can fuel anxiety.

How to Assuage Fears

One of the best ways to deal with dental anxiety is to discuss what’s about to happen with your dentist. You may be nervous about the whole procedure, but knowledge is power, which means that extra information may very well empower you in this circumstance. Given that, you should feel free to ask your dentist as many questions as you like. He or she can tell you exactly what’s going to happen next and what you can expect it to feel like so that you aren’t so off-put; furthermore, just the act of talking about your fears can mitigate them in and of itself once you hear yourself describe these fears out loud. Be sure that the dentist knows that you have some measure of dental anxiety so that they know they should be saying things to reassure you.

You may be one of those people for whom audible tools incite a freak-out session. If the dentist equips a tool that you can hear, some people lose it, and this is hardly a reaction of which to be ashamed. In particular, many people can’t stand the sound of the drill because its hum just seems ominous. Whatever the case may be, many dentists are prepared with headphones to give patients who exhibit these sorts of problems, and they can play music for you that drowns out the sound of the tools. If you already know you have this fear, though, it behooves you to bring your own earphones and music just to play it safe.

Learn how to relax in the chair, too. At the very least, you should be fine when you’re in the chair and the dentist is off getting something or doing something. If you’re not, than you have some other anxiety unrelated to the tools or the sound of drilling that you can be working through already. Breathe deeply and repeatedly when you sit in the chair so that you can try to calm yourself down, and practice focusing on other things.

There`s many more insights and dental topics on dentists and cosmetic dentistry by Arlington Texas Dentist.