Lots of people feel nervous about visiting the dentist.
In fact, according to the Oral Health Foundation, almost half of UK adults suffer from dentophobia (i.e. fear of the dentist) – with 12% reporting extreme symptoms of anxiety. But the good news is, there are things you can try to overcome this fear and get the treatment you require.
Here our experts offer a few top tips to help reduce your dental anxiety.
Get to know your dental fear
What is it, exactly, that scares you about going to the dentist?
Figuring this out is a great place to start, as you can then work towards a solution. For example, some people are afraid of the noisy drills. In which case, wearing headphones throughout the appointment can make a big difference. For others, it’s the thought of painful needles – and, therefore, asking the dentist to use a numbing gel can help to ease their concerns.
Once you understand your dental fear, it’ll be much easier to explain it to your dental practitioner.
Find the right dentist
Many people suffer from dentophobia due to a bad experience they’ve had in the past – such as a particularly painful or uncomfortable treatment or a dentist with an unsympathetic attitude.
If this is true for you, a good way to allay your fears is to do your research and find a dentist that you can trust. Perhaps ask friends and family for recommendations? Or look online for a clinic that specialises in dental anxiety? Once you’ve found somewhere that might be suitable, it’s also a good idea to visit the surgery – to get a feel for what it’s like – and meet some of the staff.
Be open from the start
Communication is the key. When you call the practice to book your first appointment, tell the receptionist about your apprehensions. The more they know, the more they can do to help. In fact, if they’re aware in advance of your dental fear (and what it is specifically that you’re afraid of), the dentist can then create a tailored plan of action to make your visit as relaxed as possible.
Choose an early appointment time
But, even so, it’s best to get up and get it out of the way. The earlier the appointment, the better. That way, you have less time to dwell on it and become increasingly anxious. What’s more, before you head to the clinic, pro-active breathing techniques are a great way to help calm your nerves.
Take someone with you
Having a relative or friend by your side can make a huge difference. It offers an extra layer of support and assurance and – if you explain your dental anxiety – the dentist won’t mind if they accompany you throughout the appointment. So why not ask someone you trust to tag along? If nobody is free, you could even ask the receptionist or dental nurse to sit with you for the duration.
Fight your dental phobia today
Here at Kiln Lane Dental, our dentists are experienced and skilled in treating anxious patients. If you have a dental phobia, there’s no need to suffer from dental issues or avoid paying us a visit. We can offer tailored advice on how to ease your concerns and will do everything we can to make your appointment as enjoyable as possible.
If your fear of the dentist is extreme, and you’re unable to find any effective coping mechanisms, we can also refer you to a sedation clinic. Such clinics are designed for patients with severe dentophobia, offering a way to get the treatment you need, without causing too much undue stress.