Dental Phobia or fear can be overcome.
The first thing you can do is to realise that your dental fear can be overcome. Fear is a learned behaviour which can be unlearned. Patient-centred behaviour modification that treats you as a whole person not as a set of teeth can help you overcome your fears. This will take a team approach between you and your dentist and their staff.
We believe that success in overcoming anxiety is built on engineering a series of small successful steps within the dental environment. As an example, for the patient for whom simply coming into the non-clinical area of the office is difficult, restricting the appointment to sitting down with me prior to any clinical examination and discussing the way in which we can anxiety is seen as being a success. This may allow us to proceed to doing an examination at the next appointment and builds a sense of trust and accomplishment.
The right dentist and dental team
You must feel comfortable expressing your fears and concerns and have a sense that they are listening to you. Modern dentistry with a compassionate dental team can be truly painless. You can pacify yourself to your fears if you take the first step and allow the right team to help you overcome your fears.
Don’t be embarrassed
If you have been ridiculed in the past for your behaviour or if you are uncomfortable by your present dental condition caused by your neglect then express yourself honestly and give your present dentist a chance to understand your concerns and show you that they care. You will be amazed at the wealth of treatment options that you might not have thought were possible. It’s never too late to re-create a new smile with modern dentistry.
Empower yourself with knowledge to alleviate the fear of the unknown. Explanation and clarification of any and all procedures proposed is your right as a patient. If you have a question about a particular procedure, ask it! Do your own research within books, brochures or the internet. Make sure you have input into treatment decisions and choices.
You should never compromise the level of communication that you feel is necessary to give you a sense of control over your situation in the dental surgery. Be honest with your dentist regarding how much treatment you think you can tolerate at first. The length of your appointment and the amount of work accomplished will increase as you build confidence in yourself and trust in the team that is caring for you.
If you feel tense in the chair, the easiest way to relax is through forms of physical relaxation. A relaxed body assists with placing your mind at ease. Use diaphragmatic Breathing, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, and various methods taught in yoga. There are numerous books and sources for these methods. If you induce relaxation in the presence of the stimuli that normally induces your fears, the fear response will be greatly diminished over multiple exposures and you will gradually soothe yourself to these fears as you build confidence.
Predictable Pain Control
Modern dentistry has many new techniques with regards to the administration of local anaesthetics to block any possibility of pain. There are many people who have anatomical or biological variations that do require more individual techniques in order to predictably achieve proper local anesthesia This variation should be communicated to your dentist.
As you get more comfortable in the dental environment, you can engage in various distraction techniques that some dental practices have on hand. The use of an iPod is a common technique.
Begin your journey today
Take charge of your life and decide which issues most concern you. Your dental health should be one of your highest priorities in life. When you have good dental health, your mouth can feed the rest of your body, speak for you effectively, and share your emotions with others in a highly effective and positive way. Don’t allow anxiety and fear of dental care to stand in the way of good oral health, and good health in general.