How to Get Over Your Dentophobia

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Many people don’t give their dental health much thought. Sure, they may brush and floss their teeth every day, but it’s more of a chore than a real priority. However, the health of your teeth is of paramount importance. Ignoring dental hygiene will not only damage your pearly whites but could also lead to a host of health conditions.

Regular visits to your dentist are just as important as doctor’s checkups. Your dentist is your partner in oral health, and they should be able to pinpoint the causes of your dental problems. Toothaches aren’t just toothaches; they could be a sign of a more serious problem. However, many people put off going to the dentist due to fear and mistrust.

Fear keeps us from doing things. Some fears are completely understandable, such as snakes and the darkness. But if you let your fear of dentists prevent you from getting oral care, you could end up with bigger problems. Without proper oral care, you could develop serious conditions and lose your teeth. Simple issues such as toothache could quickly develop into an abscess or worse.

Dental visits have improved by leaps and bounds in recent years. Advancements in orthodontic appliances have made things easier and more convenient for patients. If you still have doubts, here are a few things you can do to prepare for a visit to the dentist’s office.

1. Communicate

Fear often stems from a lack of information, and you’ll feel a lot better if you know what to expect. For starters, it’s always a good idea to communicate what you feel. If your dentist knows you’re feeling nervous, they will do everything within their power to make you feel more comfortable.

Let’s say you have a toothache and you want to come in for a quick checkup. When calling to schedule a visit, it’s important to voice your concerns from the get-go. The receptionist will make a note of your message and relay it to the dental staff. Be honest about your fears. If you’ve had a dental scare in the past, they can guide you through the procedure to allay your concerns.

Make sure the dentist knows what you feel at all times. Let them know if you feel pain during the procedure. They may be able to give you a sedative or a relaxant.

2. Look for a diversion

Anxiety sometimes forces us to focus too much on the stressors, which can cause a negative feedback loop that makes the experience worse than it actually is. It helps to look for a diversion to allow your mind to focus on any image or idea to prevent you from thinking about the procedure. For example, you can try guided meditation during your dental procedure. Podcasts and music may also help you keep your mind off your triggers.

dental checkup

3. Do some research

The more you learn about something, the less fear you’ll feel. It’s common to feel scared or anxious once you’re inside the dentist’s clinic, surrounded by unfamiliar tools and instruments. You also might have apprehensions about the procedure. Make sure to do some research before going to the dentist so you’ll have an idea of what’s going to happen.

If you have questions about the tools or the procedure, feel free to ask the dentist or their staff. They will tell you everything you need to know to put your mind at ease. After all, anxiety can affect the outcome of the procedure.

4. Calm your mind

Your muscles will become more rigid if your mind is filled with negative imagery. If you want your body to relax, you need to start with your head. Calming your thoughts lowers your heart rate and makes you feel more at ease. Feel free to do breathing exercises before the procedure.

Start by inhaling and exhaling slowly. Make each breath count, and don’t rush. You can count your breaths initially, but as you enter a more relaxed state, you’ll want to clear your mind and let the breathing happen naturally. Fifteen minutes of breathing exercises before the procedure should do the trick. Finally, do a quick mindfulness exercise. An awareness of your present state will return you to the present.

The bottom line

These four tips will help you prepare for your next dental visit. Try not to let fear affect your decisions, especially if those decisions put your health at risk. If you need to work through your worries, remember all the things you’ve learned. Never forget that your dentist has your best interests in mind, and you have no reason to fear them.

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