Don’t Let Dental Phobia Stop You

If you are practicing a healthy oral regimen, you know how important it is keep your biannual dental cleanings and see your dentist when you have unexpected tooth problems. But what if you, like many others, suffer from dental phobia or dental anxiety? And how do you know if you are avoiding your dentist because of this condition?

Most people aren’t excited to sit in a dental chair with their mouth wide open while a masked person hovers over them with metal implements. But if you are so afraid of keeping your dental appointment that you are panic-stricken and terrified, you may be dental phobic. A classic condition of phobia is that you know the fear is irrational, you KNOW your dentist is not out to get you, but you still practice every avoidance technique out there to avoid the dental chair. If only extreme pain brings you to your dentist, you may need some tips to calm your anxiety.

–Talk to your dentist. Let your dentist know what is happening so he can work with you to relax. Just letting him know you are terrified will give you a feeling of control over the situation.

–Enlist your dentist as your support person. The dental staff will also work to make sure you are comfortable and ease your transition to the procedure at hand. Your dentist will be happy to explain what will happen next so you can know what to expect, and you can arrange a “stop” signal, like raising your hand, if you need the dentist to pause momentarily where possible.

–Distract yourself. Some dental offices offer videos on the ceiling that you can watch while you relax in the chair. You can also bring ear buds and a music player to listen to your favorite tunes while the dentist works in your mouth.

–Relaxing techniques. You can use your favorite, unobtrusive relaxing techniques such as slow, deep breathing, visualization that transports to a favorite quiet place and focusing on the sounds and sights in your mind’s eye that brings on tranquility.

These are just a few things you can do to help you become more relaxed so you can maintain your excellent oral care habits away from the comfort of your home. Please let our friendly staff know how we can make your next dental visit pleasant and pain-free as possible! 360.339.7499.