Many people have a fear of dentists and dental work, but have overcome their fears. Hopefully, so can you. These fears are often valid, stemming from painful dental visits in the past. If your fear of dentists is moderate, you may overcome it by finding a good, sympathetic dentist. On a visit, the most important thing to do to stop fear is to communicate your level of physical and psychological discomfort with the dentist. For more overwhelming fears, a psychiatrist or counselor might be needed to help you overcome panic at the thought of dentists.
If you are like most people, your fear of dentists comes from a bad experience. You might have had a painful procedure where a dentist rushed or was rough. A dental hygienist might have made a derogatory comment about your oral health. Maybe during your childhood, a dentist was condescending or authoritative, lecturing you about proper dental care. Although these negative situations are not typical in a visit to the dentist, just one such experience could make you want to stop going.
You may be able to get rid of fear or anxiety by finding the right dentist. A skillful dentist who is patient and understanding will help you avoid future negative dentist visits. A dentist who practices pain-free dentistry is more likely to make you feel comfortable, confident and in control of your fear.
This may sound easier said than done, but there are dentists who will help you with your fears. The best method for finding one is to ask your family, friends, and coworkers. Once you get your courage up to make an appointment, ask the receptionist some general questions and mention your fears. If you feel blown off or like the person was irritated, you probably do not want to go to that dentist. You might schedule a consultation before treatment to see if the office is clean and inviting, and to make sure you feel comfortable with the dentist.
There are many things you can do to stop fear from overwhelming you while in the dentist’s chair. You can decide on a stop signal with your dentist, such as raising a hand. Test it out before anything hurts. If the dentist doesn’t stop, walk out.
Ask lots of questions about the procedure and the materials used, so that you know what to expect. If the idea of lying on your back while a stranger puts things in your mouth is intimidating, bring along a friend for reassurance. Hopefully you will eventually feel comfortable enough with your dentist that you can close your eyes, listen to a portable music device, and pretend you are somewhere else.
Dentalphobia is a fear of dentists that is debilitating. If your fear of dentists interferes with daily life, a trained psychologist can instruct you in hypnoses and relaxation techniques. These can you help you overcome anxiety associated with dentists over time. If you have an emergency and need to go to the dentist, a psychiatrist can prescribe sedatives or anti-anxiety drugs. You may also consider having the dental procedure under general anesthesia.