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Don’T Be Afraid: Overcome Dental Anxiety

By Tamika Ferguson

In order to have healthy teeth, more than brushing twice daily and flossing once daily is required. For complete oral care, it is important to visit your dentist every six months for a check-up and professional cleaning.

While most have no problem with the brushing and flossing, visiting the dentist is where they fall short in their oral care regimen. There are a plethora of reasons people do not see their dentist regularly. Some do not visit because of time constraints, others do not visit due to their financial situation, but the main reason is many people fear the dentist. They would rather suffer through pain than seek professional help.

Why do so many people dislike/fear the dentist? In many cases this fear/phobia of the dental environment usually stems from a bad experience during childhood which has left an indelible mark on that individual’s life.

If you are afraid of visiting the dentist here are some tips that may help you relax and feel more at ease in the dental setting.

Talk with your dentist

about your fears

Before you begin any procedure talk to your dentist and voice your concerns. Once your dentist is aware of your fears, he/she will try to make you as stress-free as possible. It is important to find a dentist you are comfortable with and one you can establish a trusting relationship with. There are many dentists out there, you have to find the right one who will make you feel at ease and is willing to work through your fears.

Wear headphones

as a distraction

Many people have a fear of the noises heard during a dental appointment. To block out the sounds, you can bring your own headphones and listen to music. In some dental offices headphones will even be provided for you.

You may need

anti-anxiety medication

Some dental practices recommend anti-anxiety medication for extremely nervous patients. If you fall in this category find a dentist who offers these options.

Breathe deeply and try relaxation techniques

There are numerous relaxation techniques you can try: chatting to the nurse before the appointment starts, taking deep breaths in and out, asking to listen to your favourite radio station etcetera. Further, try scheduling early morning appointments before the stress of the day adds up.

Arrive early to your appointment

By arriving early to your appointment this allows you to calm down before sitting in the dental chair. You may relieve some stress by simply watching TV or reading a magazine in the waiting room.

Visit the dentist regularly to prevent major problems

If you are someone with an extreme phobia of the dentist just going for a check-up may be traumatic. But the truth is the more you go to your dentist for your routine check-up and cleaning, the more you avoid lengthy/taxing procedures.

Dental anxiety is extremely common and in some cases is so strong persons avoid visiting the dentist completely. If you are one of those who avoid your dentist because of a dental phobia, this is a situation that needs to be addressed head on because your oral hygiene is important to your overall health!

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