3 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of the Dentist
If the mere thought of visiting the dentist for even a simple, routine dental exam is enough to transform you into a trembling ball of anxiety and fear, you are far from alone. According to a study conducted at the University of Wuppertal, a whopping 80% of adults in the United States, Europe, and Asia experience some degree of anxiety when it comes to dental health care. Furthermore, Colgate, one of the world’s leading providers of oral hygiene products, reports that around 30 to 40 million people in the United States avoid visiting the dentist every year due to crippling dental phobia. Although there is a large population of dental phobia sufferers who avoid the dentist all together, many other people manage to undergo dental examinations and procedures despite their anxieties. Consider the following tips to help you overcome your fear of the dentist.
1.) Call the dental office ahead of time and ask the receptionist to inform the dentist that you are very anxious about your visit. Oftentimes, the scariest part about any type of anxiety is worrying about what others will think of you when you begin to act nervous. Knowing that the dentist is already aware of your phobia might help lessen your fear of judgment. Your dentist will also likely be willing to take steps to put you at ease, such as explaining each procedure before he or she performs it.
2.) Consider sedation. Many dental offices now offer various forms of sedation such as the anti-anxiety medication Xanax. Xanax is used to help nervous patients enter into a more relaxed state prior to undergoing any dental procedures. Sedation might be the perfect solution to give you the courage to step foot into the dentist’s office in the first place. As time goes by, many people find that they require lower doses of the sedation medication. Eventually, you may be able to visit the dentist completely unmedicated. Be sure to ask the dental staff for specific instructions you must follow since it may be inadvisable to perform tasks such as driving yourself to and from your appointment while sedated.
3.) Remember that you, rather than your dentist, will be in control during your appointment. For some people, the root of their dental phobia is a fear of losing their sense of control. However, you will always have the the final say while you are in the dental chair. If you become uncomfortable with anything your dentist is doing at any point, all you have to do is raise your hand and ask him or her to stop. However, once you get started with your appointment, you will soon realize that there is very little to fear or make you too uncomfortable during a dental visit; advances in dentistry have made the vast majority of dental procedures virtually painless and more comfortable than ever.
Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you. You owe it to yourself to keep your teeth and gums in optimal health by getting them the professional care they deserve and need. Follow the above tips to join the legions of people who have managed to overcome their fear of the dentist once and for all.