How to Get Over Your Fear of the Dentist
You enter a room with strange high-pitched sounds before you are placed in that odd chair that reclines you in the most vulnerable position. You feel helpless when they shine that bright light in your face, and then you take notice of those instruments which look like medieval torture devices. It has always been your most dreaded place.
For many, this is an all-too-familiar scenario, and it can make the dentist’s office one of the most uncomfortable places on earth. Fear of the dentist isn’t limited to children, but there are strategies that can help you cope no matter how long you’ve struggled with dentophobia.
Strategies to Deal with Your Fear
According to one study by the US National Library of Medicine, 83% of people suffer from some dental anxiety, with over 16% at a phobia level. If you count yourself among these masses, consider the following tips.
With the availability of online reviews, it’s easier than ever to find a dentist who understands a fearful patient's needs. Some dentists specialize in dealing with phobias and make efforts to create a comforting and nurturing environment. Make a list of possible dentists, call the offices, and be honest with them about your fears. If they are receptive and calmly address your concerns with detailed solutions, that is a good sign.
For example, Dr. Arthur Glosman is a top-reviewed cosmetic dentist in Beverly Hills who puts patients at ease using a variety of techniques including sedation dentistry, the availability of music- and video-streaming platforms, and the presence of an upscale spa-like atmosphere.
Don’t Get There Early
There is no advantage to arriving at your appointment early. All this does is give you more time to contemplate your upcoming appointment, increasing anxiety. In this case, thinking is not to your advantage.
Bring Music or Comedy
Bringing your favorite music or comedy to listen through headphones in the waiting room (and even in the dentist’s chair) is a great way to relieve anxiety and to distract you from any potential stress. The idea is to look for ways to change the environment, which will alter your perception of the situation.
Don’t be shy about talking to your dentist. Ask them questions, and get to know them on a personal level. Engaging with your dentist humanizes them, making the situation less ominous.
Talk to a Mental Health Professional
For some people, dental anxiety is so intense that taking a more aggressive approach is needed. A phobia is classified as an irrational fear, frequently rooted in the sense of a loss of control. A mental health professional can address your fear with a more clinical approach, eventually getting to the root of the problem.
You Can Overcome Your Fear of the Dentist
Getting over your fear of the dentist is about changing the status quo. As long as your approach remains the same, the fear will not subside. Techniques to get past dental anxiety are meant to alter the environment to ultimately change how we view the potential experience.
Incorporate as many techniques as possible and find what works best for you. Once you find the most effective combination, a trip to the dentist’s office will not be the most dreaded date on your calendar.