Despite the importance of dental health, overcoming dental fear is an obstacle that prevents many people from going to the dentist. For those people, the fear associated with any type of dental treatment, outweighs any pain or discomfort their dental problem is causing.
When my sister and I were very young, we went to a dentist that had the bedside manner of an injured wildebeest. Although I didn’t like him and was glad when we finally switched to another provider, I came away from the experience relatively unscathed. My sister, on the other hand, counts it as one of the most traumatic experiences of her childhood. To this day, she has to be completely sedated to have the most routine dental procedure.
If you examine the causes for dental phobia, the list below is very common. How many look familiar to you?
- Previous painful experience with a dentist.
- Fear of being embarrassed or ridiculed for your dental condition. This is quite problematic since your own fear is also the reason for your dental neglect in the first place.
- Fear of certain dental procedures, especially those that you might perceive as painful.
- Scary or terrible experiences told to you by other people that involved painful dental treatments.
- Fear of needles and other sharp instruments involved in dental procedures.
As with other types of fear, dental fear mostly takes place in the mind. With that knowledge, many have overcome dental fear by combatting it with hypnosis. This method can help you to relax and re-frame your visit to the dentist. It can also help you understand that this type of fear is illogical and enable you to appreciate the importance of having regular dental care.
Undergoing dental procedures can be scary, but you can get over that by re-learning your emotional response to the experience. For example, you can try doing a basic check up wherein the doctor just examines the teeth using a mouth mirror. Nowadays there are many dental practices that specialize in people that are sensitive to pain or just plain scared of the dentist.
You can also have a frank conversation with your dentist before any procedure. Let the dentist know if you have been previously traumatized during a dental procedure. Taking this process step by step and moving slowly will enable the you to retain some control of the situation.
It ‘s also important that you learn how to effectively communicate with your dentist so they remain aware about your state throughout the entire procedure. If at some point you become anxious about the situation, then it is best to send out warning signals so your dentist knows when to stop or proceed.
Also, keep it in mind that dental procedures should never hurt. That is what the numbing agent is for, which is also another reason why you should not fear those shots administered before any procedure. Once you have motivated yourself enough to dismiss all these fearful anxiety-producing thoughts, you’ll be able to come out of the procedure unstressed and with a healthy mouth.